Meet the Trailblazer: Mental Health First Aid England

Race Equality Matters is pleased to announce that Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England have been recognised as a Bronze Trailblazer.

 

MHFA England has developed a strong and impactful commitment to race equity within its organisation and Race Equality Matters’ independent panellists have showcased and celebrated this through the Trailblazer recognition. 100% of the judges considered MHFA to have taken action on tackling racial inequality and 80% of judges considered it a type of organisation they would like to work for. MHFA England’s work has been pioneering and impactful for its community, and Race Equality Matters wants to celebrate this.

 

Navigating and Overcoming Challenges

MHFA England’s commitment to Race Equity began in 2020 as they informed judges they faced a “multitude of uncertainties”, following the pandemic and heightened awareness of racism, that they sought to tackle and overcome. Since then, a project team has been established to promote change through:

  • CEO sponsorship and quarterly progress reports to enhance accountability.
  • Learning and training for central staff members and external instructor members has been facilitated by the Statement of Intent and Race Equity Impact Report.
  • The flagship course is currently under review to ensure the mental health inequities that ethnic minorities face are recognised and incorporated within this. 

One of the judges praised the establishment of a full-time D&I position within MHFA England, stating that it is indicative of strong evidence that race equality is at the forefront of the business”. This feedback relied upon ethnically diverse employee endorsement throughout the application, in which MHFA England scored strongly in.

 

Establishing a Race Network

MHFA has also established an internal cross-organisational race network- Sapphire Champions- that hosts monthly meetings to discuss how anti-racism and education can be embedded within the organisation. In 2022, MHFA conducted their second round of anti-racism training for staff members and made training on Race Equity a mandatory module for Instructor Members too. This year the organisation has also applied Race Equality Matters’ #MyNameIs campaign and participated in Race Equality Week 2022.

Evidence of Ethnically Diverse Employee Endorsement

Over the last 2 and a half years, MHFA England have:  

  • Reviewed all of their recruitment and onboarding processes and implemented changes to ensure a more inclusive candidate experience, implemented a zero-tolerance policy on racism and committed to reviewing all our people policies on an annual basis to ensure they reflect our anti-racist culture  
  • Established an LGBTQIA+ ERG  
  • Established a new flexible working policy  
  • Launched an Equality, Diversity & Inclusion and Zero Tolerance Policy.
  • Undertaken a gender and ethnicity pay review to ensure equality in remuneration. 
  • Awards  – Great Places to Work 2022, and Great Places to Work for Wellbeing and Women. 

Judges consistently praised the evidence MHFA England had acquired through their race equity commitment and the accountability this upheld. 

  • Impact: Judges scored the evidence provided to demonstrate meaningful impact had occurred the strongest, as well as the bravery and new innovation they upheld. 83% of judges considered the impact of MHFA England’s work as “clear and substantial” to “good”. 
  • Endorsement: The impact-driven direction MHFA England are taking was visible in their application when informing panellists that, alongside an ethnic pay gap review:

“Success was measured through regular meetings with the executive and directorate teams to assess the successes, lessons, and extra support to ensure that MHFA England deliver on their commitments to being an anti-racist social enterprise. Including this, annual surveys, and employee feedback to assess growth were undertaken.”.

  • Success: Judges made a unanimous decision to grant MHFA England Bronze Trailblazer due to the evidence of impact by the Sapphire Champions, leadership and organisation-wide initiatives.
  • Within the feedback, one judge reflected on their application:

This shows the organisation’s commitment (across all staff levels) to stamping out racism and listening to issues and challenges faced by ethnic minority staff, thereby empowering them.”

Next Steps…

Looking to the future, MHFA England seeks to deliver all the commitments made in the Race Equity Impact Report with a look to establish a new impact report next year.

MHFA England  have demonstrated commitment and impact for change. Their Bronze Trailblazer status echoes the impact felt by the organisation’s Black, Asian and ethnic minority employees. Celebrating our Trailblazer community will accelerate the change and momentum towards racial equality, through action not words.

Quotes from ethnically diverse employees:

“As an organisation, I believe that we have always strived for inclusivity and diversity, but since we began our active anti-racism journey, I have learnt so much more about how to support colleagues, how to think proactively about anti racism and how to be a real ally.  As a white woman, the understanding that has come from undertaking Project Sapphire training has been invaluable in helping me to consider more widely, the lived experience of my colleagues who are black or People of Colour. The active part of being anti-racist is so important, we cannot be passive if we are to challenge racism and facilitate change.”

 

“I think the biggest change has been to our recruitment policies – we’ve made purposeful decisions around equitable recruitment and really followed through with actions, not just words.  For example, we now ensure anonymous recruitment process and our commitment to a more diverse staff body is reflected in the change in makeup of our NEDs and Executive and Leadership Team. Previously, all our NEDs were white. Now we have a Black woman, one Person of Colour and one person from a racialised community. One of our four executives is a Person of Colour (from 0) and three of our Leadership Team are Black or People of Colour (from two). Showing that senior leadership is investing in diversity and inclusion and is reflective of our commitment to anti racism, is so important.”

 

“We have created a safe space for staff to open up and bravely share their experiences. This has been incredibly powerful, and we support our amazing colleagues who do this”

 

“The webinars are a great place for people to share their own stories, when hearing them myself it [Race/Racism/Race Equity] really hit home.”

 

“Our Race Equity work has created a safe place to talk and learn in the workplace”

 

Follow MHFA England’s Lead: Become a Trailblazer

If your organisation is driving change for Race Equality and you can demonstrate impact, endorsement from ethnic background employees and share future plans; register your interest for the next round of trailblazers. 

 

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