Willmott Dixon trains 130 ‘mental health first aiders’

12 April 2018 | By Neil Gerrard

Contractor Willmott Dixon has trained more than 130 people to act as “mental health first aiders” to assist with the mental wellbeing of workers on its sites.

The mental health first aiders (MHFA) make up a fifth of Willmott Dixon’s workforce and are being deployed to provide an additional network of support as part of the firm’s All Safe Minds campaign.

Willmott Dixon hopes that the presence of the MHFAs will encourage its people and supply chain to seek help if they have existing problems or realise that they are starting to struggle.

They are trained to follow the acronym “ALGEE”, which stands for:

The move, which coincides with Stress Awareness Month in April, comes after Willmott Dixon launched the All Safe Minds campaign in 2017 to raise awareness of mental health issues predominantly affecting men across the construction sector.

Campaign posters have been designed for display at every site and office, to reinforce the key messages of the All Safe Minds initiative and to show who the local MHFAs are for that particular site.

Willmott Dixon’s head of health, safety and environment, Mark French, said: “We’ve invested in training to equip our army of MHFA volunteers with skills to deal with potentially fragile situations sensitively and effectively.

“Since the launch of All Safe Minds in 2017, momentum continues to build around the issue of mental health in our sector.

“Our Mental Health First Aiders are a significant step forward in offering our workforce the best possible chance at improved mental fitness, but not only that, they also represent the welcome change in culture that is gradually taking effect across our industry.

“The MHFAs are an important route to support and we hope that their presence on site will eventually ‘normalise’ the subject of mental health so that it becomes a natural mind-set for men and women to seek help if they become overwhelmed by their own personal situation.”

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