Recognising the importance of mental health support across both the construction and funeral industries, Neville Trust has taken action to offer help to employees, promote greater awareness of mental wellbeing in the workplace, and reduce stigma.
It follows staggering figures estimating approximately one in four people in the UK experience a mental illness each year, with depression, stress, and anxiety as the largest causes of sickness absence in the UK’s workforce. This is particularly prevalent in construction, a male-dominated industry, as Mates in Mind reports that men are three times more likely to die by suicide than the national average for men, resulting in 700 deaths per year.
By increasing the number of employees who are trained and qualified as Mental Health First Aiders (MHFA), the Group aims to support its growing workforce of 187 located across Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, and Buckinghamshire.
Vicky Trumper, Director at Neville Trust, said: “Employee wellbeing is incredibly important to us, and it’s long been a priority within our workplace. The pandemic was especially challenging for those working within all of our group companies, and there’s no doubt this has had a lasting impact. By growing the number of staff in a variety of areas across the group, including at site level, we have trained as MHFA’s, we’re putting the wellbeing of our team as a priority to ensure we have a strong, happy and long-standing team.”
The first aiders from across the Group have attended training courses run by St John’s Ambulance and Mental Health First Aid England where they are trained to spot the signs and respond to the mental and physical health needs of a person experiencing a mental health issue. Support can vary from having a non-judgemental conversation with a colleague to guiding them towards the right support.
Trumper said: “Despite being MHFA’s, we do not expect our staff to be mental health experts, instead we just want to provide our teams with someone to talk to when they feel they are struggling. Everything discussed is treated with strict confidentiality unless the matter is so serious it needs to be escalated, and it doesn’t matter which company the person works for, they can speak to any of our MHFA’s.”
Neville Trust also provides employees with access to an online support system called ‘Together All’, designed to offer an alternative space to support good mental health if staff wish to do so in a more anonymous setting. Stress risk assessments are also carried out each year and counselling sessions are available to all staff.
Trumper added: “Our employees are the glue that holds us all together, so listening to their needs and encouraging open conversation is vital. Having different avenues to access support and regularly checking in on our employees will hopefully provide the foundations to navigate challenging times together as a team, and we hope many businesses will follow.”
Each year the Group make donations to various mental health charities and organisations to support the work they do, as well as sharing resources internally for the team to assess useful links and resources.