First Aid in Mental Health

AG staff graduating from the programme and collecting their training certificates - Pictured L-R: Lyle Cairns, Iain Cameron, Lauren Magee, Cathy Read, Nigel Tomlinson, Mark Hunter of AG.
AG staff graduating from the programme and collecting their training certificates - Pictured L-R: Lyle Cairns, Iain Cameron, Lauren Magee, Cathy Read, Nigel Tomlinson, Mark Hunter of AG.

Tyrone-based manufacturer, AG, has taken the bold move to address the stigma surrounding mental health issues within construction.

AG did so by enrolling staff in a two-day Mental Health First Aid Training (MHFA) programme.

Ten managers across the company’s eight sites have taken part in the programme, with further plans to roll this training out to more employees in the near future, with the aimd of ensuring positive mental health advocates are always at hand for staff within AG.

The training coincided with Mental Health Awareness Week (May 14-20) and came on the back of the company’s wider Health and Wellbeing initiative ‘Activ8’.

The Mental Health First Aid Training programme teaches participants:

• How to recognise the symptoms of mental health problems

• How to provide initial help

• How to go about guiding a person towards appropriate professional help.

Cathy Read, HR Business Partner, at AG said, “The link between poor mental health and the construction industry is well documented.

“From depression, anxiety and stress to rates of suicide, research has shown time after time that the construction industry is suffering in silence when it comes to mental health issues.

“An industry mental health survey in 2017 revealed that one in four construction workers have considered suicide.

“Working within the construction industry, health and safety is always a priority, but mental health all too often falls below the radar.

“Through this programme we want to create a culture at AG where employees feel supported, valued and empowered to seek help for any issues around mental health.

“We are already seeing the impact of the training programme as staff who have taken part will be hosting Tea and Talk sessions across our different sites during Mental Health Awareness Week,” added Cathy.