Recent statistics show that in the UK, one in four people are likely to experience a mental health issue at some point in their lifetime, with one in six people at any one time experiencing mental health issues. Add to this that mental ill-health costs employers an estimated £26 billion a year, an average £1,000 per employee per year, and you realise the importance of this issue.
For this reason, last month, THSP Risk Management’s Health and Safety Director, Chris Ivey, attended a two-day course provided by Mental Health First Aid along with 18 other delegates who work across the construction industry.
The course was delivered by Mental Health First Aid England in association with Mates in Mind, the construction industry charity set up to raise awareness and understanding of mental health in the sector and to provide training to all workers, to remove the stigma of weakness long associated with mental health issues and to spot the signs when they or a colleague may need help.
Mental Health First Aid is intended, in the same way as we learn physical first aid, it teaches people how to recognise those crucial warning signs of mental ill health.
The aim of this training was to see how this fits in with the aims and intentions of Mates in Mind.
Chris Ivey states “this course reiterated a lot of concerns regarding how mental ill-health is addressed in the workplace and throughout the construction industry and reinforced why Mates in Mind is so important.”
He added “it won’t enable me to diagnose or treat mental health illness, however it will help me to recognise the signs and symptoms and I now feel more confident to approach, assess and assist someone who is experiencing a mental health issue.”
THSP fully back and understand the importance of mental health awareness and are active supporters of Mates in Mind, indeed their consultant team were used as guinea pigs during the development of the Mates in Mind induction programme. Going forward organisations need to have a greater understanding of mental health issues and work with their employees to tackle any issues early on, with the hope that this reduces the impact and helps assist in the best possible way.