Chamber Chat with Kim Brown
Making the difference as a Mental Health First Aider
Recently myself and two colleagues qualified as Mental Health First Aiders after taking part in some quite intensive and in depth training. Now, whilst we’re not in post to diagnose, or even counsel anyone in need of some support, the depth of knowledge and understanding we now have is so much better.
What struck me most when I was asked to take part and organise this training, was how many of our on-site Project Managers were keen to engage and become qualified MHFA’s, in fact so much so that we couldn’t get enough places on the courses. Listening to these highly motivated colleagues made me realise just how exposed they are to mental health issues in their teams and how far the construction industry is prepared to go to support so many, predominantly male (that’s just the reality), staff to look for and access support at work.
Both of my colleagues had several stories of people they know who were genuinely struggling and they were really keen to learn as much as they could to identify, reach out and ultimately support their teams. Everyone of us came away from the course feeling a lot more educated and ultimately confident in helping anyone struggling.
The construction industry has made huge in-roads for women in construction and I know for certain that real efforts are being made to ‘get the conversation’ started about mental health awareness on our construction sites. We’re proud at Chris Bowker Ltd to be one of the first companies of our kind in the north west to join the half a million community (4 million world wide) in England of Mental Health First Aiders. Getting your team leaders trained in this area is a responsibility we all need to take seriously.