CIVIL engineering and building contractor Farrans Construction has teamed up with Action Mental Health and Dan Long Associates, to launch an internal training course aimed at tackling mental health conversations head on.
The initiative was announced ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10.
Employing more than 550 people, Farrans said it aims to treat mental health with the same responsiveness and training that it does for physical health. The company’s newly rolled out ‘Have the Conversation’ sessions aim to provide employees with the training to manage situations arising from these conversations.
The in-person half-day training involves actors from Dan Long Associates role playing relevant scenarios, with the audience offering their thoughts on how to approach certain conversations or how to direct the discussion in the most helpful way. The actors replay the scenarios and the participants are able to learn from the changes and know how to better handle these situations should they arise.
Lisa Haycock, training and development advisor, Farrans Construction, said, “We are proud to have already had 90 employees taking part in Have the Conversation. Several years ago, we found a gap in support for our employees.
“Feedback from managers offered us a better understanding of their openness to conversations around mental health but a lack of training was holding people back, specifically on how to best manage potential situations arising from these conversations. Have the Conversation helps us to create a space where our people feel they can reach out to seek help and we want to ensure the training is in place on how to react should those conversations happen.
“In addition to this, we have trained mental health first aiders on over 30 of our project sites, a 24/7 counselling and support healthline, GP anytime, and a wellbeing app, all of which form part of our holistic ‘Well Together’ strategy.”
Shelly Wilson, works manager at Action Mental Health, added, “Collaborating with Farrans on ‘Have the Conversation’ has been excellent. AMH Works is delighted to be part of a ground breaking and innovative workshop that helps support managers to recognise the signs of mental-ill health and signpost those affected to appropriate sources of support.
“We are very encouraged to see leading employers such as Farrans adopt such a proactive approach to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of their staff.”