Parliament has been presented with a new Bill that would make it compulsory for employers to provide training in mental health first aid.

The Bill was presented by Tory MP Dean Russell, who said the change would enable more individuals to recognise the early warning signals of mental health problems in the workplace. He said mandating workplace mental health first aid training would save lives.

Mr Russell put forward the new legislation on 25 January as a Ten Minute Rule Bill. Ten Minute Rule Bills rarely have enough time to pass into law, but they do offer MPs a way to draw attention to certain issues. Maria Caulfield, the minister of health, listened to his address from the government benches.

Although it is not required by law, many firms already currently provide first responders with mental health training.

Under the proposed law, businesses would have to pay for the additional training, but supporters of the Bill point out the rising number of workdays lost due to poor mental health. According to the Health and Safety Executive, around half of all sick leave cases last year were due to mental illness.

Mr. Russell also stated the change could reduce the long-term effects on employers and the NHS while eventually saving lives.

In 2018, more than 200,000 people signed a petition for the “Where’s Your Head At!” campaign calling for a mental health first aider to be required in every workplace. In 2021, Mr. Russell attempted to introduce legislation along similar lines, but the Bill never progressed.

As Editor of Lawble, Gill helps business and individuals become better informed about their legal rights. Gill is a content specialist in the fields of law, tax and human resources.