Safety is always top of the agenda at H+H and a new focus on mental health recognizes that not all illnesses are visible.
The experiences of living in a pandemic has highlighted the damage that can be caused by stress, anxiety and depressions: everyday illnesses that are seldom discussed but which can escalate all too easily.
During 2020 the company increased its focus on the “health” in “health and safety” and set out to create a culture within H+H that actively supports positive mental health.
The programme is far-reaching, including a dedicated portal on the company intranet to give immediate access to external resources and support.
The company has also trained a team of dedicated mental health first-aiders. Individuals who have volunteered to provide a first contact point for anyone who is looking for support or simply a confidential chat. There was no shortage of volunteers to take up this role and no doubting their belief in the positive impact that their presence can bring.
H+H is making these individuals obvious by providing conspicuous coloured lanyards. The plan is that simply by being around, being visible and promoting their role, they will encourage more open discussion around subjects that might have been regarded as a bit “taboo”.
Most important is to encourage an attitude that accepts that sometimes it is OK not to be OK.
It need not be a big deal or anything huge but to acknowledge when life is challenging, to share experiences and simply have a chat with a trained colleague can be enough. Alternatively, it can be a first step towards getting expert help if that is what is needed.
As MD Calum Forsyth points out: “We have a tendency within manufacturing and within construction to try and shrug off negative feelings and “tough it out”. The consequences of this type of denial can be just as dangerous as any machinery. We need to be just as vigilant in identifying risk factors and acknowledging them as early as possible.”