St Helens construction firm makes mental health awareness commitment

M&Y Maintenance and Construction has become the first construction firm to partner with national mental health charity, Chasing the Stigma, and has made a commitment to provide mental health awareness training to all its staff.

The St Helens firm, which operates across the North West, has partnered with the Liverpool based mental health awareness charity to deliver of its Ambassadors of Hope mental health training program through its parent organisation, The Regenda Group.

Ambassadors of Hope is a fully Ofqual accredited 20-minute training programme that will give staff better understanding of mental health, advise how to effectively signpost those who need help to appropriate support via the Hub of Hope app and how to deal with a mental health crisis. The Regenda Group is committed to providing this training for all its staff, over 700 in total, between now and the end of 2019.

M&Y Maintenance and Construction will also be installing the Hub of Hope app, which was created by Chasing the Stigma, onto all employees work smart phones. The app enables people to find local and national support at the click of a button and is the UK’s first nationwide mental health support database.

The training will also benefit customers, many of who are the most marginalised in the country, as staff will be able offer support and advice. Some M&Y employees might be the only people customers living in social isolation see and speak to, and so being able to signpost people to appropriate support could potentially save a life.

According to Mind, approximately one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. In England, one in six people report experiencing a common mental health problem, such anxiety and depression, in any given week.

The Regenda Group operates across the North West and a range of sectors, including housing, training and apprenticeships, construction and charity. In one of one of the areas the organisation operates, St Helens, the suicide rate is the highest in the country. Public Health England research has also showed that men working in the construction industry are also at a high risk of suicide.

Chasing the Stigma was set up by comedian and writer, Jake Mills, who battled depression in 2013. After months of internal turmoil, Jake attempted to take his own life but was discovered before it was too late and made a full recovery. After opening up about his battle on social media, Jake was inundated with messages from people asking for help and this led to him launching the national mental health awareness charity.

Matthew Rothwell, Director of Safety and Business Performance at M&Y Maintenance and Construction, said: “I was saddened to read a number of recently published statistics detailing trends in suicide rates in the Construction industry and in St Helens where the suicide rate is the highest in the country and 80% higher than the national average. 30% of our employees are based within our construction and maintenance business, with its primary base in St Helens, 90% of these employees are male. People working in this sector are 3.7 times more likely to take their own lives.

“I have suffered with depression for many years, and often not known why or how to deal with it. Depression is a real mental illness. Those who have depression cannot simply decide to stop feeling depressed. Unlike typical sadness or worry, depression to me feels all-consuming and hopeless, it has often made me feel worthless in times in my life when I have been very fortunate.

“It is my duty as a Director within our business to ensure that we are creating open and supportive culture where everyone can talk about their feelings and not feel judged. The direct impact of those statistics on our business and my own person experiences with mental health has emphasized the importance of our partnership with Chasing the Stigma.

Michael Birkett, CEO at The Regenda Group, said “The Regenda Group is extremely proud to be the first organisation of its kind to deliver this innovative and valuable training programme, the benefits of which will not only be felt by our workforce but also by friends, family and customers.”

Jake Mills, CEO of Chasing the Stigma, said: “By being the first housing association to partner with Chasing the Stigma and deliver the Ambassadors of Hope training to their staff, Regenda and M&Y Maintenance and Construction are sending a rallying call out to their peers and other organisations in their sector. Our partnership highlights they are acknowledging the presence and importance on mental health in everyone from board members and staff, through to the customers using their services.

“We are looking forward to our first training session in December and hope that others in the housing sector will follow their example and equip their teams with the knowledge and tools to talk confidently about mental health and find or signpost to help.”

The first mental health awareness training session will be delivered to The Regenda Group Leadership Team on 6 December 2018 and then the rolled out across the Group, including its subsidiaries M&Y Maintenance and Construction, Redwing Living, Petrus, Alder Training, Positive Footprints, Centre 56 and McDonald Property Rentals.


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