Engineering company Edwin James Group has chosen 10 employees to become mental health first aiders to support the wellbeing of its 1,000-strong workforce.
The selected members of staff, who come from across the business, have taken part in an intensive two-day course with St Johns Ambulance. The course focused on recognising the signs and symptoms of common workplace mental health issues and effectively guiding a person towards the right help.
The initiative is part of a wider package of measures introduced by Edwin James Group designed to support the mental and physical health of employees. These include training for all managers, so they can provide guidance, as well as interactive measures such as wellbeing workshops, webinars, and an online training programme that covers relaxation, meditation and managing stress.
Additionally, all staff are also now eligible for Bupa cover and have access to its employee assistance programme.
Mark Longley, group corporate services director at Edwin James Group, said: “We believe that supporting our employees and giving them the tools to manage stress benefits them directly but also improves the working environment and is good business. It’s an approach that is proven to lower sick days and boost productivity. ”
He explained that poor mental health or excessive stress can have an impact on sleep, tiredness and a lack of concentration, which can easily lead to accidents.
Longley added: “We need to do what we can to ensure that our staff are protected. First aiders are just one part of a whole package of measures that we’re introducing to encourage a positive mental health culture.”
The training of mental health first aiders was well-received and the take-up exceeded the company’s initial goal, according to Longley.
He concluded: “The mental health first aider is there to provide support for colleagues and the training gives them the tools to recognise problems early and act.”