Mental health first aiders have been trained to raise awareness and promote positive Mental Health and Wellbeing in their workplace.

Following on from recommendations by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) that employers understand the need to consider mental health alongside physical health, three members of the Hart Biologicals team have completed the pioneering first aid certification which focuses on Mental Health support at work. 

Production Manager Jason Pattison, Quality Assurance Officer Jenny Leach and Regulatory Affairs Manager Keighley Larkin have undertaken the course which is being offered by Mental Health First Aid England and is delivered by St John’s Ambulance.  

Keighley explained why it was so important for Hart Biologicals to adopt the practices aimed at offering colleagues support and listening to any concerns that they may have.

She said: “Initially the course was something I was personally interested in and I thought it would be great for Hart Biologicals to ensure that our team’s mental health was being looked after. 

“We’ve done numerous incentives for physical health in the past but never anything looking at mental health. 

“I proposed the course to the Managing Director Alby to get his thoughts - he was really passionate and suggested a number of us do the course together. 

Jenny said: “The course itself was split over two-days in Sunderland and taught us some of the emotions and behaviours to look out for in people who may be suffering from mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety, to name a few. 

“It made us aware and comfortable enough to discuss them and to approach someone that may be feeling that way. It was quite a heavy course in places, but it was very beneficial.” 

She added: “Obviously, we’re not professionals and we’re not in a position to diagnose anything, but we can point people in the right direction for the support they may need.” 

Jenny, Keighley and Jason have now been awarded mental health first aid certification from Mental Health First Aid England meaning they are qualified to offer support and guidance for potential mental health sufferers. 

Jason said: “It’s something that many go through at some point in time whether they talk about it or not. 

“Be it yourself, a family member or friend, it’s more than likely someone you know will have had an issue with mental health at least once in their life. 

“It’s okay to talk about your feelings and it’s great for us to have this available to our staff as a company and to have everyone on board with it.” 

Keighley added: “Ultimately our staff well-being is at the heart of everything we do at Hart Biologicals and we want to be able to support them as best we can by having a team dedicated to listen.” 

For more information on Mental Health First Aid go to: https://mhfaengland.org