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The Works Recruitment training all employees in mental health first aid

The Works Recruitment is training its employees in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) – and urging other staffing agencies to do the same – to help protect both their own employees and the candidates they place.

The Leeds-based consultancy has been championing mental health in the workplace since 2017 following the tragic death of one of the firm’s contract workers who took their own life. The firm is currently working in collaboration with the Mental Health First Aid Campaign, Thriving Minds and Thrive Law on this agenda and is lobbying government to make it mandatory for any business employing over 30 people to have a designated Mental Health First Aider.

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. The high-pressure environment which characterises many recruitment businesses can be detrimental to those living with mental health conditions, while contract workers are thought to be at risk of falling through the cracks amid uncertainty around who is responsible for the occupational health of these individuals.   

Craig Burton, managing director at The Works Recruitment, commented, “According to Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England, poor mental health costs UK employers £34.9 billion each year when sickness-absence, reduced productivity and staff turnover are taken into account. However, as our own tragic experience has taught us, the cost of not identifying individuals who may need support is actually much higher.  

“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. 

“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. This is why we’re campaigning to encourage the recruitment profession to lead by example and endorse Mental Health First Aid in their business. We have a moral obligation to look out for not only our own employees but also the candidates we work with – together we can make a difference.”

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