Mental health focus: Crossrail’s mental health first aid
Steve Hails, Director of Health & Safety at Crossrail, looks at how mental health is managed within Crossrail, and what support is offered to the workforce.
Mental Health & Wellbeing is a core influencer on people’s ability to perform effectively, efficiently, safely and with creativity. To ensure that Crossrail truly engages with the mental health at work agenda it provides, advice, support, skills and tools so that our staff have the emotional health and fitness to think clearly and react safely no matter the pressure faced in work or out of work. We have developed a mental health and wellbeing programme that incorporates psychological wellbeing and physical health and fitness, so that our staff perform to their very best whilst at work.
We encourage our contractors to promote the importance of the predominantly male workforce looking after their health, seeking advice from various areas around physical and mental health. Our current focus on mental health involves mental health first aiders, training people to be the “go to” person in the first instance for someone who may be dealing with certain issues that may give rise to psychological challenges or ill health.
Crossrail’s mental health and wellbeing programme includes:
- Addressing the stigma of mental health through research on attitudes to mental health and the effectiveness of online training and encouraging storytelling.
- Training wellbeing champions/mental health first aiders to provide information, support and signposting for those with mental health & wellbeing conditions.
- Delivery of practical workshops on personal resilience, stress management, fatigue, nutrition, exercise and mindfulness, with supporting guidance.
- Engaging with various networks and campaigns to ensure Crossrail is involved in the development of good practice and shared learning i.e. Public Health Responsibility Deal, Time to Talk, London Health & wellbeing week, City Mental Health Alliance, Business in the Community, Health in Construction Leadership Group.
- Opportunities for staff to engage with Crossrail on their personal and business mental health requirement, through the Crossrail-wide wellbeing survey and feedback sessions from all initiatives.
The programme aims to address mental health at a corporate and individual level, providing advice to both prevent ill health and promote good health.
Reflecting on the importance of mental health at Crossrail, Steve said: “Here at Crossrail Health & Safety is at the heart of everything we do. Looking after the health of our people is not only the right thing to do, it is vital if we are to deliver the project on time and within funding and help build a productive workforce capable of delivering the unprecedented number of major projects just around the corner.
“With a concerted effort over the last decade, the construction industry has dramatically improved the safety of its workforce. We can have a similar impact on mental health with an equally determined effort by the industry and its supporting organisations.”
We collaborate with our supply chain to provide appropriate guidance and direction to our workforce to allow them to make informed decisions about their own health and wellbeing.
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