Businesses boost mental health during pandemic

The vast majority of large electrotechnical and engineering services businesses now train staff as Mental Health First Aiders, according to a survey commissioned by engineering services trade body ECA.

24 of the largest ECA Members, with a combined turnover of several billion pounds, responded to the COVID-19 Impact survey, with 89% of businesses reporting that they had First Aiders.

More widely, the survey showed growing sector engagement with mental health. Overall, 85% of companies had specific policies and procedures to support the wellbeing of their staff. Among the rest, around half reported they are developing specific policies. Only a minority stated the issue was covered by general support and awareness training for managers. In addition, 83% of businesses provided access to counselling services.

Paul Reeve, ECA Director of CSR, says: “It’s widely understood that mental health is a significant issue across construction and engineering services. However, the pandemic has amplified the factors adversely affecting health.

“These range from various causes of stress to increased isolation, poor diet and lack of exercise. Reflecting these increased challenges, the large contractors reported significant and increasing engagement with mental health issues.”

Even so, 47% of respondents mentioned ‘communication’, and 41% ‘workplace stigma and perceptions’ as challenges to managing mental health. Around a third of respondents (35%) referred to the difficulty of measuring outcomes, both in terms of improved mental health and return on investment.

ECA promotes mental health awareness in the workplace, and offers its Members discounted online First Aider and Awareness training. ECA members also have access to a wide range of health and welfare services through employee benefits provider ECIS.

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