Started MHFA training
Staff trained so far
Lendlease is a leading international property and infrastructure group, employing 1,300 people in the UK. It has been recognised externally for best practice in the area of mental health and wellbeing, having been accredited with many awards including winning the coveted MIND Gold award three years in a row, and in 2019 was awarded the number one spot, receiving the highest points of any organisation for excellence in promoting good mental health.
“Every working day, two construction workers take their own life and countless more attempt to."
Lendlease has invested a significant amount of time and energy into working out how it can provide meaningful mental health support to its workforce. Its action plan is comprehensive and is bursting with joined up initiatives. The full programme is run by passionate employees, in addition to their day job, who all recognise the enormous challenges that come from working in construction.
There are currently over 150 active Mental Health First Aiders working across departments, and most recently all have been through the MHFA Refresher course to upskill. On joining Lendlease, all employees also go through the MHFA England Half Day course as part of their induction.
As part of their continued focus on education, Lendlease is also rolling out a range of dedicated mental health training programmes, working with UK charities such as Beat (eating disorder charity), Sands (stillbirth and neonatal death charity) and Stonewall (LGBT+ rights charity). They are also looking at specific suicide intervention training and other bereavement training.
Looking after the physical and mental health of their people is a significant part of the Lendlease culture. All employees receive one day of Wellbeing Leave every four months to attend a health and wellbeing related need. Private healthcare insurance and an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) provide professional support.
Mental Health First Aiders operate across projects and offices ensuring support is always available to colleagues. Wellbeing and Inclusion Champions are also dotted around the business, and act as an advocate and visible ally helping bridge the gap between head office and projects. There are 33 Champions currently in the UK and many of these are also Mental Health First Aiders.
Employees are encouraged to take part in their rolling diary of wellbeing events held over the year, such as celebrating World Mental Health Day.
Lendlease have recently produced incident films. The first batch were released on World Mental Health Day and captures the personal experiences of colleagues, including senior leaders. The second focused on colleagues who had been involved with critical incidences inside and outside of Lendlease. All films were launched on their portal and have been well received.
Lendlease is also one of the founding members of the Building Mental Health programme, a project set up to enable all parts of the construction sector to access mental health support, provide awareness, training and put in place structure and systems to support people working in and around the industry.
Guardian of the programme, Brian Van Campenhout, Head of Environmental Health and Safety at Lendlease explains; “Every working day, two construction workers take their own life and countless more attempt to. There is no time to lose, we have to educate everyone in our industry to recognise the signs and symptoms of our colleagues that are experiencing stress, anxiety or depression and start the conversation to assist in their recovery.”
Like all organisations, Lendlease has been impacted significantly. They’ve gone through furlough, a restructuring programme, uncertainty, employees off on sick leave and colleagues have also sadly lost loved ones.
The Mental Health First Aiders have highlighted to their colleagues who they are and what support is available to them via a new dedicated portal. They have been highly proactive; arranging a rota to ensure support is always available to those who may need it. They have also set up keep in touch network calls, to check in with each other.
According to Paul Hay, EHS Training Manager, Health and Safety Europe, this has been vital. “Our Mental Health First Aiders have played a key role in supporting our staff over the last 16 months. They have gone above and beyond to support us during this challenging time and we are so grateful for everything they have done.”
The Lendlease culture has dramatically changed over the last eight years as a result of the programme. Paul, who is also an MHFA England Instructor Member, and joined Lendlease nearly 10 years ago, recognises this. “Mental health conversations take place far more frequently than they ever would have done. Senior leaders talk openly about mental health, which wouldn’t have happened before. Staff are also now coming forward for support and are accessing their mental health first aid network.”
This is all backed up by the MIND wellbeing survey and the annual staff survey, which reflect the positive difference Lendlease is making as a consequence of their mental health and wellbeing action plan.
MHFA England training 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. In the Autumn they have an ambitious training programme planned, launching Senior Manager training, additional People Manager training and opening up the Two Day Mental Health First Aid England course to more staff. They are also providing training for their Italian Business Unit.
They also plan to hold their Mental Health First Aid symposium, an annual event which was put on hold last year. The event will bring together and celebrate the efforts of all Mental Health First Aiders, rewarding them for their service, along with expert speakers and sharing best practice.