As a company, EPC-UK has long championed a drive for better mental health in the workplace. Since 2018 we have run training courses – delivered in association with Mental Health First Aid England (MHFA England) – to equip our teams with skills to ‘talk’, ‘train’ and ‘take action’, so they can support themselves, others, and improve industry awareness and understanding of mental health issues.
In a year that has tested everyone’s ability to maintain positive wellbeing, we have considered the importance of supporting our employees’ mental health to be more vital than ever. Although personal contact opportunities have become limited, we have not wanted to lose mental health training momentum, so have applied the technical resources we’ve increasingly familiarised ourselves with to deliver Mental Health First Aider training online.
In partnership with MHFA England, we have taught two virtual training sessions via Zoom in recent weeks, with further courses planned for 2021. The sessions have brought the total of EPC-UK employees trained and certificated as Mental Health First Aiders to 58 since 2018, 9 of whom are also Safety Ambassadors. Keith Ward, Learning & Development Co-ordinator at EPC-UK, has been involved in the course’s delivery. He comments:
“The courses present an in-depth understanding of mental health dynamics and the factors that can affect wellbeing. Providing practical skills to spot triggers and signs of mental health issues, the training encourages staff to develop confidence tools to ‘step in’ and reassure and support a person in distress.
“By offering the Mental Health First Aid training online during the Pandemic, we’ve demonstrated an important commitment of care to staff; helping us to better understand one another, and provide valuable knowledge and insight to those who could benefit personally, or support others they care about.
“Whilst the training doesn’t necessarily serve to solve a problem in its entirety, it does equip participants with tools and information to help, together with knowledge to guide towards further support – whether that is through self-help resources, employers, the NHS, or a combination of each.”
Keith, who himself has talked on LinkedIn recently about how a personal mental health journey affected him and his family, understands fully the different types of mental health challenges and associated reasons. He adds:
“From a personal point of view, I find it reassuring to know that there are people within my workplace whom I can speak to should I need to, and I’m not alone, as it’s highly probable that mental health issues will impact most people at some point in their lives.
“So, I’m very pleased that we’ve had the opportunity to take the training programme online, as it’s helped EPC-UK to increase Mental Health First Aider numbers. As such, we have more qualified individuals to speak to, offer advice, or just listen – in or out of the working environment, and critically at a time when such skills are particularly valuable.”
With figures reported by The Mental Health Foundation revealing that overall just over eight in ten (82 per cent) of UK adults surveyed felt they had experienced stress because of the Covid-19 pandemic, our Managing Director, Ben Williams, felt it was essential to continue the Mental Health First Aider training programme through virtual means:
“The idea that healthy, happy people make for stronger communities and thriving economies is a line of thought EPC-UK supports completely, and one we have promoted through our Esprit d’Equipe initiative for some time. We believe that a culture of “looking out for each other” at every level helps to make our business more sustainable, morally responsible and harmoniously progressive.”