14th May 2018
Farrans is delighted to have signed on the dotted line with Mates in Mind – a commitment that will see more than 220 employees across Farrans and Northstone trained in Mental Health First Aid and Facilitator skills over the coming year.
Farrans represent the first contractor based in Northern Ireland to sign up to the scheme, with a long list of contractors across England, Scotland and Wales already signed up to the pioneering scheme.
The Mates In Mind Scheme is specific to employees within the UK construction sector – a number which currently stands at approximately 2.1 million and constitutes around 6% of the overall UK workforce.
Recent studies show that of these 2.1 million, some 350,000 construction employees are experiencing a mental health issue at any one time.
Mental Health Training: An Investment in Wellbeing
For the past year, Farrans and Northstone (NI) Ltd have been working closely with Mates in Mind and Inspire, a charity and social enterprise focused on promoting workplace wellbeing.
The new sign-up will see nominated Mental Health First Aiders trained and operational across all operational sites and the company’s offices in Belfast, Woking, Cambridge and Edinburgh.
In addition, all line managers will receive training to help facilitate conversations with employees and to champion the stance that it’s okay not to be okay.
Joanne Lennox, Head of People and Engagement at Farrans, said joining the scheme is a clear signal to Farrans’ employees that mental awareness and wellbeing is something which is taken as a real priority in the business.
“Signing up to Mates In Mind is an investment of more than £20,000 into mental health and wellbeing services at Farrans,” Joanne said.
“More than that, it is an investment in training our people in both self-awareness and spotting the warning signs in others.
“We are under no illusion that properly tackling mental health requires support from industry-trained professionals.
“Training our people in Mental Health First Aid is not geared as a replacement for that; it is a channel to improve the accessibility of that first line of support and to flag issues at the earliest stage, enhancing the overall wellbeing of our people”.
Creating a Strong Support System
Farrans MD, John Wilson, has encouraged all employees to engage in the process of protecting their own wellbeing, looking out for colleagues and reducing stigma of mental ill health in the wider construction industry.
“It is important to commit the time, effort, people and resource to supporting the mental wellbeing of our people in Farrans and Northstone,” John said.
“Nurturing this environment is something that we are all accountable for and signing up to Mates in Mind is a way to roll out the strategy".
Farrans and Northstone currently have a range of measures in place to support the mental and physical wellbeing of the workforce, including subsidised healthcare costs, 24/7 counselling and access to CBT services and various fitness initiatives such as spin classes after work.