Stagecoach Merseyside, Cheshire and South Lancashire has welcomed a new cohort of twenty mental health and wellbeing champions after becoming the first Stagecoach Bus region in the UK to provide mental health awareness training for all depot and engineering managers.
The training, provided by Mental Health First Aid England, is the latest in a number of initiatives adopted by the transport company to end workplace stigma surrounding mental health issues and open up a positive conversation about wellbeing.
Managers and supervisors across the company’s depots in Liverpool, Chester, Preston, and Birkenhead have all taken part in the eight-hour training programme, which will enable them to identify symptoms of poor mental health and be aware of the necessary steps to take to support their team members.
In 2018, the World Health Organisation (WHO) released a report that stated globally every 40 seconds somebody dies as a result of suicide. Although the figures are lower for the UK, national statistics show that workplace stress is on the increase, with over two-thirds of employees claiming they experience it. This figure is higher in the public transport and service sectors, and if not managed properly, can lead to a significant decrease in employee mental health.
Alongside the training, mental health and wellbeing awareness packs have been created for team members and are available for all Stagecoach staff at their depots or via the Stagecoach intranet ‘Blink’. Stagecoach Group has also launched a confidential helpline, which anyone from the company can call if they feel they are struggling or need support.
Rob Jones, Managing Director for Stagecoach Merseyside, Cheshire and South Lancashire, said: “Our team’s wellbeing is a key priority and we view this training as a very worthwhile investment, which has empowered our managers and supervisors working on the frontline of the business with the knowledge to enable them to provide appropriate care and guidance to our wider teams across the region.
“We want to ensure all our team is equipped with the tools they need to either take the first steps to seek help, or identify the signs that indicate a colleague, friend, or family member may need assistance, and how they can best support.
“People are often reluctant to approach their employer with mental health concerns out of fear of it affecting their job security. At Stagecoach, we want to encourage positive, open conversations around these issues and ensure we’re doing what we can to support our team, should they need it. Our managers have an open-door policy when it comes to mental health issues and we’re always here to listen and give anyone struggling a helping hand.”
In 2018, Stagecoach became the first national bus company to sign the Time to Change pledge, vowing to tackle workplace stigma around mental health discussion and introducing Wellbeing Champions, to help support the region’s open-door approach to mental health. The company offers full training on mental health first aid and suicide prevention to employees from the region.