Travis Perkins to increase mental health first aiders

Travis Perkins is on track to ensure there are six times more mental health first aiders (MHFAs) in the business this summer, than there were at the start of the year.

This initiative to increase the number of MHFAs from 40 to 250 complements a whole raft of other support for colleagues, which includes an employee assistance programme for counselling and emotional support, as well as a mental wellbeing app and assessment tool, activity and mindfulness resources and discounts on gym memberships, exercise equipment and online fitness.

Richard Byrne, group HSE and fleet director for the firm, explained: “During COVID, our mental health and wellbeing have been put to the test like never before, but as an industry leader with a proud history of upholding family values, our strong people focus has served us well. It has underpinned our pandemic response and helped us work collectively to resolve the many challenges this past year has posed for our 20,000 plus colleagues in balancing their home and work lives.

“Our MHFAs play a key role as ambassadors across all areas of wellbeing; to be the first port of call in the workplace for mental health support for colleagues, raise awareness and encourage positive behaviours amongst our workforce on a voluntary basis, and to identify signs of poor mental health and help individuals access professional support if they need it. But we are very clear that they are not there to diagnose or provide ongoing support or counselling.”

The MHFAs at Travis Perkins all follow the guidelines of MHFA England, and in recognition of the rewarding, but also challenging nature of these roles, the company has also put in place a range of support mechanisms to safeguard the MHFAs themselves, so they protect their own health and wellbeing.