Go-Ahead is training a mental health first aider at each of its UK and Irish bus companies as part of its long-term commitment to employee mental health. Go-Ahead points out that 90 per cent of its bus workforce is male, and that men are more likely to have lower levels of life satisfaction than women and are less likely to access mental health support services according to research.
The group aims to tackle this by ensuring that mental health is discussed openly across its companies and to direct colleagues to resources and support available.
Brighton & Hove Buses started its mental health initiative in 2020, putting forward more than ten colleagues for mental health first aid training. These colleagues have played an instrumental part in supporting the city’s bus workers during the pandemic.
In-house mental health first aider training has to date been completed by participants at the Oxford Bus Company, Go South West, Go South Coast, Go-Ahead London, Go North West and Go-Ahead Ireland.
Other Go-Ahead companies such as Go North East and Go East Anglia will soon be going through the training.
The training gives an in-depth understanding of mental health, allowing people the practical skills to spot triggers, reassure a person in distress and guide individuals to further appropriate support.
Go-Ahead London is also training managers and colleagues on mental health awareness in conjunction with Transport for London.
“The pandemic has hit mental health hard across the country and it’s difficult to find someone who hasn’t been affected,” says Sam Facey, Go-Ahead head of safety. “It is our duty as an employer to ensure that our colleagues know what support is available.
“By training a representative in each of our bus companies as a mental health first aider, we can start to tackle the stigma surrounding mental health by providing and practical and emotional support.”