AG strives to shut down mental health stigma

Tyrone-based manufacturer, AG, has taken the bold move to address the stigma surrounding mental health issues within construction by enrolling staff in a recent two-day Mental Health First Aid Training (MHFA) programme.

A total of 10 managers across the company’s eight sites have taken part in the programme, with further plans to roll this training out to more employees in the near future; ensuring positive mental health advocates are always at hand for staff within AG.

The training comes on the back of the company’s wider Health and Wellbeing initiative ‘Activ8’.

The MHFA programme teaches participants:

  • How to recognise the symptoms of mental health problems
  • How to provide initial help
  • How to go about guiding a person towards appropriate professional help.

Cathy Read, HR Business Partner, at AG commented, “The link between poor mental health and the construction industry is well documented.

From depression, anxiety and stress to rates of suicide, research has shown time after time that the construction industry is suffering in silence when it comes to mental health issues. An industry mental health survey in 2017 revealed that one in four construction workers have considered suicide.

“Working within the construction industry, health and safety is always a priority, but mental health all too often falls below the radar. Through this programme we want to create a culture at AG where employees feel supported, valued and empowered to seek help for any issues around mental health.

“Our workforce is predominantly male which makes mental health first aid especially important. Males are typically less likely to seek out help for mental health issues due to the surrounding stigma, so we wanted to help staff recognise mental health problems and make them aware of the help available.”

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