Mental health awareness promoted by RAF veterans throughout UK's offices

Two former Royal Air Force (RAF) gunners who served in the armed forces 34 years ago have reunited to promote the UK’s mental health in the workplace.

Gary Peake and Phillip Delbaugh first met on a tour of Northern Ireland in 1985, they have been in touch ever since and now both work at Acacia Training which provides apprenticeships, short courses and Government funded qualifications in different sectors.

The pair deliver Mental Health First Aid training  across the UK and are advising all UK employers to support the mental wellbeing of their workforce and customers by having the necessary mental health aiders in the workplace.

The training is a two-day course which gives people who attend a deeper understanding of mental health issues such as how to spot symptoms, assessing the risks of self-harm, confidentiality and the best way to offer support.

According to Mind, a mental health charity in England and Wales, 25 per cent of people experience mental health problems every year. Mr Peake himself suffered from Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and in 2015 was discharged from the RAF after a 31-year career. Due to his PTSD he struggled to find employment until Acacia.

Mr Peake has trained more than 600 people this year alone and has won the Mental Health Star award at the Thrive Mental Health Commission Awards.

The pair also teach Emergency First Aid training, with Mr Delbaugh being a qualified weapons and first aid instructor in the military. Also he has worked as a close protection officer to celebrities and as a security consultant around the world. He joined Acacia earlier this year.

Mr Peake said:

Finding a purpose to help others overcome depression, anxiety and PTSD was an important part of my recovery and working for a supportive employer has been crucial. Supporting people to stay at work and perform to the best of their ability can be a key part of their recovery and ultimately benefits the employer too.

Prevention is always better than cure and it’s fantastic to see more and more major UK companies realizing the importance of wellbeing at work and signing their employees up to Mental Health First Aid training courses. I’ve had such positive feedback from people who have done the course and told me that they found it life-changing.

Victoria Sylvester, director at Acacia Training, said:

Gary and Phil are real assets to our team and have already helped hundreds of people to support their colleagues and customers. Employers are becoming increasingly aware that they need to take a less stigmatized view on mental health, and they can do this by making sure that they have trained mental health first aiders in the workplace.

Interested in wellbeing in the workplace We recommend the Workplace Wellbeing and Stress Forum 2019.