It’s important to ask the question, “are you okay?”, but it’s the next step that is truly crucial: how to respond when someone answers “no”.
The average person will spend 90,000 hours at work over their lifetime. With tight deadlines, long hours, and harsh conditions, those in the construction industry would agree that this is a modest figure. Needless to say, when you’re spending an excess of time at work, navigating large and often stressful projects, it is essential that your support network exists within the walls of your workplace. Alongside the challenging demands of construction, the stigma surrounding poor mental health, especially amongst men, is attributed to its prevalence within the industry.
Led by the Wellbeing Committee, St Hilliers enrolled its members in a certified mental health first aid training course, designed to identify colleagues displaying signs of distress and provide early intervention; facilitating conversations to assess levels of risk, offer support and connect colleagues to professional services.
Members of the Wellbeing Committee undertook an accredited training session led by Sebnem Bulan-Worth, an experienced WHS and Training and Development Consultant, Principal Master Mental Health First Aid Instructor, and HBDI® Certified Practitioner with over 15 years of experience. Operating out of offices and sites across Australia, members of the committee including Kirk Thompson; Project Manager, Eilish Antalan; Design Coordinator, Damian Leggat; Project Administrator and Phoebe Whitehead; People and Culture Administrator met in Brisbane to undertake the training.
Reflecting on the course, Damian Leggat said “I quickly realised that what I thought was a sound understanding of mental health problems and the appropriate response, was very wrong. The session opened my eyes to the day-to-day impact these problems can have on people. I now have a much better understanding of how to help those around me and know that I will have the skills to respond should a friend, colleague, or family member ever require support”.
Feedback from the two-day course was unanimous: intervention is lifesaving, and it is essential for every single individual to have the skills to respond when someone is suffering emotionally.
Committed to providing our teams with the skills and training to effectively support one another, St Hilliers plans to move forward by ensuring that every manager is trained, aware and proactive. We all know someone who has struggled with their mental health. Together, we can ease their burden.