Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is partnering with the FTSE 250 strategic outsourcing company, MITIE, to offer mental health first aid training courses. MITIE is the largest private sector company in the UK to offer its own staff and also its clients the training, free of charge.

The focus on mental health awareness is increasingly important, with a recent a report by The Centre for Mental Health estimating that mental health problems in England cost the UK economy tens of billions of pounds each year. With much of this attributed to the costs incurred by UK businesses, the need to train people in the workforce is paramount.

MHFA provides training courses to public and private sector organisations to support them in dealing with staff that experience mental health problems. The course provides comfort and promotes recovery for sufferers as well as helping to raise awareness of mental health issues in the community.

Employing over 57,000 people, MITIE is one of the largest private sector employees in the UK. If neglected, both the financial and non-financial costs to a business the size of MITIE could be significant. Its pro-active approach in raising awareness of mental health issues and reducing the fear around the subject matter not only reinforces its commitment to supporting and developing its people, but also makes sound business sense.

MITIE’s MHFA instructor Jane James commented: “With 1 in 3 adults experiencing mental health issues it makes sense to recognise these issues and focus on how we can help to support staff in dealing with them. Since running the programme we have had staff at all levels disclosing issues that they have had to deal with. With the support of MHFA training we have been able to support them and avoid the negative impact on business.”

MHFA Business Manager Bernice Cole commented: “We are delighted and proud to be working with MITIE to enable them to ensure the wellbeing of their staff is taken seriously, helping fulfill their corporate social responsibility. We hope their example will be followed by others, ensuring that mental health literacy is raised and the stigma around it dispelled through the continued training and education of staff. We expect that this will in turn benefit them in terms of higher staff satisfaction and increased productivity.”