A Stockton training firm is leading by example when it comes to putting mental health awareness on the agenda.
With a long history of serving the engineering and construction industries across Teesside, NETA Training is now encouraging employers to pay closer attention to their employees’ mental health.
“It’s not about being an expert,” said instructor Adam Garbutt. “It is simply being able to recognise the signs that someone may be struggling and having the knowledge and confidence to step-up, offer reassurance and, if needed, guide someone towards appropriate professional help.”
According to Adam, just a little knowledge can go a long way and with suicide among construction workers reportedly more than three times the national average for men, awareness is vital.
A former steelworker, the Middlesbrough dad said: “Anyone can suffer with mental ill health. It is only by raising people’s awareness that we can help to remove the stigma. By removing the stigma people are more likely to ask for help rather than suffer in silence.”
Taking a change in direction after redundancy, Adam, who had gone on to become a health and safety training advisor at SSI, took the training opportunities made available to him to become a Mental Health First Aid England instructor.
Now he spends his working days sharing the important message with business leaders and their staff.
According to Mental Health First Aid England, stress, anxiety and depression are one of the biggest causes of sickness and absence in our society.
NETA Training’s Commercial Training Manager, Sean Johnston, said: “People are becoming more aware of mental health issues generally and they are starting to talk about it more in our industry, but there is still a long way to go.
“There continues to be this reluctance to talk about mental health, it still has a stigma attached. As the construction industry tends to be predominantly male dominated, it is shocking how many continue to deal with mental health issues in silence.”
NETA’s Commercial Operations Co-ordinator, Lisa Wells, said: “Part of the message is to help people to understand what is meant by mental ill health. Mental health issues can cover a whole variety of things such as anxiety, stress, panic attacks or sleeplessness.
“We want to raise awareness that everybody can go through this, it is about employers and colleagues being able to spot the signs and being able to signpost people to the right support.”
Keen to practise what they preach at NETA Training they have already put staff through the training with more now in the pipeline.
Training Manger Sean said: “Mental Health First Aid should be as much a part of a business as health and safety. It is for everybody.”