Linny Hursthouse, Principal Master Instructor, MHFA Trainer Profile;
Q: What inspired you to become a MHFA Instructor and how long have you been delivering the courses?
I have been a Mental Health First Aid instructor over for over eight years. I was and continued to be inspired to deliver first class content that provides individuals, and organisations the knowledge, awareness and skills to provide early intervention to support people when they develop mental health problems or are experiencing a crisis. At a cultural level the bigger goal is to reduce stigma and promote conversational skills that support a psychologically safe work environment, to reduce risks and increase safety.
Q: Why do you think Mental Health First Aid training is so important for financial professionals?
Financial professionals are having conversations with people about their capacity to fulfil responsibilities and finance stability is a key risk and safety factor for mental health and well-being. So, it makes sense that during those conversations a financial professional is able to check in, explore and understand how clients are coping and functioning with their finances. They can also provide a critical role for early intervention conversations to explore appropriate supports either professionally or through family, friends.
Q: What makes you so passionate about your work as an MHFA Instructor for the Counting on U Program with Mentally Well Workplaces?
Counting on U Program provides skills and knowledge that will assist financial professionals to feel confident and competent in having a mental health conversation. There is no better time than now to embrace these competencies as the world continues to have high levels of uncertainty and with increased risks for individuals to become ‘unwell’ or experience high levels of stress, or stressors that can impact on their clients’ functioning and coping skills.
I am passionate about how this programme is focused on helping and provides a skills-based framework to conduct a person-centred conversation. I see all forms of work require conversational practice, so this programme provides skills that will assist the learner to having richer and more diverse conversations. Most importantly to reduce stigma within a business and promote early help-seeking behaviours.
Q: What are 3 things you like to focus on and do exceptionally well when delivering Mental Health First Aid courses?
- Sharing the content is an easy and two-way highly engaging manner.
- Seeking input and stories from the group.
- Demonstrating the knowledge, skills and approaches one can take in dealing with either a crisis or mental health first aid conversation.
Q:What are your own self-care practices for staying mentally well?
Self-care for me is a proactive and conscious practice; mainly for me it is being up close with nature, taking time in my garden and full filling my role of being an active a beekeeper with a commercial apiary. I believe wellness is a result of having a system of doing many things; focus on increasing or balancing energy practices that can be mindful, highly activating or reflective.
Q: Why would you recommend finance professionals, small business owners and employees in general become accredited Mental Health First Aiders?
Mental Health First Aid provides evidenced based education, knowledge and national guidelines that are designed to help a person know to provide mental health first aid. I recommend all businesses have a mental health first aider so they can approach, assess, assist to provide the appropriate supports for early intervention and recovery of a person who is experiencing a mental health problem or crisis. Just as physical safety is adopted as a core capability for reducing risks, this programme is designed to do the same.
Small businesses thrive on small productive teams, so it is essential they have a culture of awareness and support for their staff, families and communities. Mental Health is everyone’s’ business. Mental Health that is promoted through a culture of awareness can enable positive and productive outcomes; poor mental health cultures can have significant impacts and risks; related to performance, engagement, growth and being able to learn and adapt to change. Mental health is a critical risk factor in all businesses, so it is important just like physical safety that a business is equipped to build a culture of good mental health and well-being.