Spencer Group launches mental health first aiders and champions

Spencer Group

Engineering organisation Spencer Group has launched a network of four mental health first aiders and seven mental health champions, to encourage its 300 employees to talk about their mental wellbeing.

Headquartered at Humber Quays, Hull Marina, the organisation also has offices in London and Glasgow, as well as teams working on infrastructure projects across the UK.

The new support network was implemented in conjunction with Time to Talk Day on 7 February 2019. It forms part of the Hull-based organisation’s wider Time to Change Action Plan; this aims to address and support employees’ mental health and wellbeing.

Yvonne Moir, HR director at Spencer Group, said: “Having mental health first aiders and champions in place shows the commitment of the business to making it [okay] to talk about mental health [and] wellbeing. It should never be a taboo subject, and no one should ever be afraid to tell their employer that they need help.”

As part of this approach, Spencer Group is giving employees suffering with mental health issues a wearable device, provided by technology business Moodbeam. This shares confidential data with staff members to help them understand factors that could be affecting their mental health and wellbeing.

The organisation has also introduced a new mental wellbeing area within its internal online portal, providing access to relevant support and information, and is working on communicating the contact details of its new first aiders and champions across the business to facilitate easy contact.

On Time to Talk Day itself, Spencer Group ran a series of toolbox talks across all UK sites and at its Hull headquarters. This offered employees the opportunity to talk to champions and line managers, encouraging conversations around mental health.

Time to Talk Day is part of the Time to Change campaign, led by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness. The movement seeks to address mental health stigma and discrimination.

The launch of the network of first aiders and champions was communicated to staff via a series of briefings, its online portal and through the Time to Talk Day initiatives.

Spencer Group’s mental health centred activities are supported by its existing wellbeing offering, which includes physical fitness activities and mindfulness and meditation sessions.

Moir added: “At Spencer [Group], employee engagement is not about statistics and initiatives, it’s about the people who work here knowing they have support from the business and their colleagues when they need it.

“We have always been there to support our employees, but we realised that, to make this topic better understood across both our business and others in the industry, we needed to make it more visible.”