ESS, the Defence, Energy and Government Services sector of Compass Group UK & Ireland, has worked with Mental Health First Aid England to introduce mental health first aiders across its business. More than 100 colleagues have completed the training over the past 18 months, with the last cohort containing the hundredth volunteer!
Team members from the frontline through to senior leadership have taken part with the aim of promoting mental wellbeing and encouraging open, honest conversations about mental health in their workplaces. Many cited the positive impact of a friendly face at work as their reason for getting involved.
The course, delivered in collaboration with Mental Health First Aid England, provides attendees with an understanding of mental health conditions and strategies to help those who may be struggling, including listening and signposting to support. Following certification, the mental health first aiders join monthly check-in calls to aid them in their role. The plan is to continue growing and evolving the community, with more training scheduled for later this year and into 2022.
The mental health first aid programme forms part of ESS’ wider wellbeing strategy which comprises four pillars; Healthier Mind, Healthier Body, Healthier Food and Healthier World. The company’s nutrition and wellbeing team promote mental and physical health and sustainability through regular activities including wellness webinars and mindful moments sessions, as well as a monthly wellness newsletter.
Ahead of World Mental Health Day on 10th October, ESS hosted a special event to discuss a variety of topics relating to mental health and celebrate the dedication of its mental health first aiders.
Mark Webster, Managing Director – ESS Defence, Energy and Government Services, commented: “Many of us will experience mental health challenges at some point in our lives – it’s so important that people realise it’s ok not to be ok and feel able to ask for help when they need it. We want to create a culture of openness around mental health within ESS and training our colleagues in mental health first aid is a fantastic tool to enable this. I’m delighted by the number of volunteers who have completed the course and the way it’s bringing the conversation alive across our business. If just one person feels able to open up about their difficulties as a result, then our objectives for the programme will be achieved.”
Harjeet Moore, Head of People – ESS, commented: “The introduction of mental health first aiders was a key part of our people plan prior to the pandemic and the impact of Covid-19 has brought concerns about mental wellbeing to the forefront. We need to ensure that we are supporting our teams following their experiences over the past 18 months and there is no doubt that having 100+ team members trained and ready puts us in a much stronger position to do this.”
Compass Group UK & Ireland launched YouMatter over a year ago – its dedicated mental health support campaign for colleagues across the business. This is alongside its partnership with Hospitality Action, which helps address the stigma around mental health concerns.