Luxury Hotel Introduces Mental Health First Aiders To Help Staff Suffering In Silence

A TOP hotel has taken the innovative step of introducing a team of mental health first aiders in a bid to help staff who may be suffering in silence.

The Abbey House Hotel and Gardens has invested in training for three of its senior managers to help them understand and spot the symptoms of mental ill-health.

Now it is planning to further extend the programme as it seeks to make the four-star venue one at which mental health is freely spoken about in positive terms.

General manager John Horton said: “We’re very keen at the Abbey House Hotel and Gardens to do what we can to look after both the physical and mental health of our team.

“People who have mental health challenges can quite often internalise them, when the best thing to do is seek the appropriate help and support.

“Our mental health first aiders are not trained counsellors, however, they have been coached in what to look out for and the next steps to take, should they feel that a colleague is in need of support.”

Figures from the Mental Health Foundation show that 1 in 6.8 people experience mental health problems in the workplace (14.7%).

Women in full-time employment are nearly twice as likely to have a common mental health problem as full-time employed men, while evidence suggests that 12.7 per cent of all sickness absence days in the UK can be attributed to mental health conditions.

Three members of the Abbey House team have taken the training to date; head chef Ashley Wood, marketing manager, Yasmin Platt, and events manager Gemma Murphy.

Yasmin said: “It was a very intense and emotional two days. We learned so much about the different ways in which mental health can affect somebody.

“It has certainly changed the way in which I think about mental health, and also my perspective on the issue. I’m finding that I am far more aware of my colleagues’ behaviour and demeanor and am tuned in to the signs they may be having difficulties.

“It was such a worthwhile two days and I think it’s great that as a business we are doing this.”