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The Power of Education: How Mental Health First Aid training creates a healthy workforce

Author: Matthew Geraghty  /  24th May, 2023  /  News

Niamh Gilmore, Health & Wellbeing Coordinator, discusses the value of Mercury’s Mental Health First Aid Training programme for our teams, and the importance of breaking down long-held stigmas in the construction industry.

According to the Construction Industry Federation of Ireland, forty four percent of employees who experience a mental health issue cite a work-related reason, and the construction sector is one that can bring undue amounts of stress and fatigue, both mental and physical.

The same group also noted that almost two-thirds of companies in the construction industry believe the sector has a serious issue with staff under-reporting mental health issues in the workplace.

As an experienced industry leader, we know that our people perform at their best when their mental and physical wellbeing is prioritised.

Mercury’s safety team has made wellbeing a key strand of our award-winning safety culture. To encourage a culture that fosters positive wellbeing, we offer a Mental Health First Aid Training programme to all Mercury employees and our supply chain partners. Since launching in 2021, almost 300 Mercury people have completed the one-day course, which has played a major role in centring stigma-breaking mental health conversations on site.

‘‘I liked the open and genuine discussions around mental health and how to support colleagues or friends in need, with the gentle reminder that you need to look after yourself, while helping others’’

The course is conducted twice monthly by Shane Rispin of ABP Training and outlines the duties of a Mental Health First Aider. Upon completion, participants are equipped with the necessary skills to help someone in a crisis situation, from gaining a greater understanding of the development of mental health issues to putting action plans into place for helping themselves or someone in need.

The feedback from employees has been overwhelmingly encouraging and the course currently holds a 100% positive feedback rate from Mercury employees, of whom almost one in ten have completed the course in less than two years. Many have offered their own anonymous insights into how the course has benefited them.

‘‘I found the course very insightful, and it certainly helped provide the right tools to deal with someone in distress. Shane was a fantastic trainer and eased us into the process of dealing with and talking about particularly difficult topics’’

Shane, who started running the course with ABP Training after noticing the decline in mental health at a societal level during the Covid-19 pandemic, is passionate about getting people ‘‘comfortable in the uncomfortable situations.’’ He notes, ‘‘As well as providing great wellbeing, communication and leadership techniques, the course is a safe space for people to open up.’’

If he was to offer any advice to those working in the construction industry that is finding their job stressful, he says, ‘‘It can be challenging in an industry like construction with tight deadlines, long days and work that’s demanding on the body. I would suggest that you do what you can within your control- focus on the small things, even taking lunch away from your desk or embracing connections with your colleagues can help maintain positive mental health.’’

Only in its second year, Mercury’s Mental Health First Aid Training initiative continues to go from strength to strength. With a dynamic approach to employee wellbeing, we strive to break down the culture of the stiff upper lip which has been perpetuated in our industry for too long.

Learn more about ABP Training here.



At Mercury, we drive a culture of wellbeing that enables our people to succeed and thrive.

The physical and mental wellbeing of our employees is of supreme importance. By cultivating a positive and engaging working environment that supports and nurtures, we believe that our staff are better placed to deliver top-class results.

You can read more about our employee wellbeing strategy by clicking here.

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