Natalie Butler, learning and development business partner Polypipe Building Services
Kent-based building services specialist Polypipe now has 16 mental health first aiders across their sites and also aims to have 100% of managers trained in mental health awareness by June 2021.
Mental health first aiders are volunteers who are trained in practical skills to spot the triggers and signs of mental health issues and are given an in-depth understanding of the factors that can affect wellbeing.
They gain the knowledge to help someone recover their health by guiding them to further support. The Polypipe volunteers were trained by West Kent Mind.
One of the volunteers, Kirsty Mitchell, said: “I found it really interesting and it has given me some valuable tools. I think it will make me much more proactive looking after my own mental health and that of my colleagues.”
Natalie Butler, learning and development business partner Polypipe Building Services, said: “Mental health first aiders are a point of contact if you, or someone you know is experiencing a mental health issue. They are not therapists or psychiatrists but they offer support to find the appropriate help.
“This initiative forms part of Polypipe Building Services Total Wellbeing Strategy whereby we want to raise awareness and start talking about mental health to reduce the stigma, encourage open discussion and communication about mental health illness.
“Polypipe is committed to creating a healthy and safe working environment for all our colleagues.”
The Health and Safety Executive reported that 1.4m people in Great Britain were suffering from work-related illness. This had an estimated cost to the economy of £15bn. Sickness absence in the UK is estimated to cost employers more than £29bn a year.