Started MHFA training
Staff trained so far
Lendlease is a leading international property and infrastructure group and in the UK employs 2,500 people. It is recognised externally for best practice in the area of mental health and was the only company in its sector to be included within the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) report ‘Getting Better: Workplace Health as a Business Issue’. Lendlease is one of the founding members of the City Mental Health Alliance – a coalition of organisations that have come together to improve mental health in the City of London and of which MHFA England is a founding committee member.
Lendlease has invested a significant amount of time and energy into working out how it can provide meaningful mental health support to its workforce. Leading the way at Lendlease is a newly created Mental Health Work Stream Group which has recently started to roll out MHFA. The training has been funded by the Lendlease Foundation programme which invests in its employees’ health and wellbeing through one of its focus areas: to enrich the lives of employees and their families.
“Those working in the construction business are six times more likely to die from suicide as a result of depression than falling from a height.”
Dan Labbad, the Lendlease CEO of EMEA region and Group COO, puts the issue of mental health firmly on the agenda stating, “Those working in the construction business are six times more likely to die from suicide as a result of depression than from falling from a height. As an industry, how much money do we spend on Health and Safety versus supporting employees with their mental health?”
Dan is not alone in his view that construction companies should be investing far more in protecting and supporting the mental health of their employees. The Trade Union Congress TUC states in its Time to Change manifesto that “Occupational stress should be given the same priority as injury prevention by employers”.
Martin Coyd, Lendlease’s Regional Head of Environment, Health & Safety (EMEA region) and Head of the Mental Health Work Stream Group puts this into context:
“Working away from home, long hours, pressing deadlines, environmental conditions and high levels of physical exertion are all factors that we have recognised could contribute to a person’s stress level and mental health. That’s why we decided to invite employees to join a Mental Health Work Stream Group.”
Martin says, “The reaction amongst staff to the launch of this initiative was tremendous and has proved to be the most well attended and proactive work stream group that has ever been established within Lendlease – a fact which I believe says a great deal about our employees’ desire to raise the profile of mental health within the organisation and create positive change in this area.”
A fully qualified MHFA instructor himself, Martin continues, “The introduction of MHFA into our business is an important step in the right direction, because we are not only breaking down the stigma that is so often associated with talking about mental health, but we are providing a first point of call for someone who might be experiencing a mental health issue.
“So far, out of our 2,500 employees in the UK, we have trained approximately 200 Mental Health First Aiders, 80 of which are current in the business, with further training courses arranged. We have posters up on every floor in every Lendlease office in the UK identifying who our qualified Mental Health First Aiders are and how to contact them.
Along with the continued rollout of MHFA in their UK region, Lendlease has introduced a mandatory stress awareness course for every employee. First Assist, the company’s Employee Assistance Programme is promoted widely as a fully funded support service for those who may wish to speak to someone in a more anonymous setting. From January 2016 Lendlease now offers MHFA One Day training to all new starters to the business as part of its mandatory induction process. MHFA continues to be an integral part of Lendlease’s approach to employee wellbeing as they lead the way to normalise mental health within their company culture.