Worker's death inspired this Leeds firm to train all staff in mental health first aid

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A Leeds-based recruitment firm has committed to training its employees in Mental Health First Aid after recognising what it views as a dangerous gap in responsibility for gig workers and temps.

A contract worker with The Works Recruitment took his own life last year, prompting the firm to look at how it could better support employees who may be experiencing mental health issues.

Craig Burton, managing director of The Works Recruitment, is urging businesses across the city to look at Mental Health First Aid training for staff.

Craig Burton, managing director of The Works Recruitment, is urging businesses across the city to look at Mental Health First Aid training for staff.

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Managing director Craig Burton said: “For too long there has been a culture of fear and silence around mental health, and while work may not directly impact an individual’s emotional state, you can’t leave mental health issues at home.

“I can’t help thinking that if a member of my team – or the client’s team – had been trained in Mental Health First Aid, we may have been able to at least identify there was an issue with the young father who took his own life, and perhaps even prevent the devastating situation.”

According to a survey of 44,000 people carried out by the mental health charity Mind, poor mental health affects half of all employees.

However, a recent poll by the Institute of Directors found fewer than one in five firms offer mental health training for managers.

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“In our experience, nobody seems to be taking responsibility for the mental health and wellbeing of temporary workers, who don’t even have the benefit of established networks in the workplace which can be a lifeline for those in turmoil,” said Mr Burton.

“This is why we’re campaigning to encourage other firms who recruit and manage temporary workforces to join us and endorse Mental Health First Aid in their business.

“We have a moral obligation to look out for those who are overlooked by others – and together we can make a difference.”

The Works Recruitment is in the process of training all its employees in Mental Health First Aid and is offering mental health training courses to all local businesses during 2019.

Last November the YEP also hosted a free mental health training as part of its #speakyourmind campaign to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health in Leeds.

Email helen.lambert@theworksrec.co.uk to find out more about courses being hosted by The Works Recruitment.