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HBAA champions increasing Mental Health First Aiders with the government ahead of Mental Health Awareness Week, 18 – 24 May

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Ahead of Mental Health Awareness Week, which runs from 18-24 May, HBAA is calling on the government to support a 1:50 ratio of Mental Health First Aiders to staff across all industries including the events, hospitality and travel sector to help people cope with heightened stressful issues created by the pandemic,

Fears and anxiety about uncertainty and job security, concern for the safety of their working environment, high workloads and increased financial burdens are among the pressures likely to threaten mental wellbeing before and during the recovery period for businesses.

Working closely and united with Business Visits & Events Partnership (BVEP), the association has been lobbying for funding towards the initiative and together they have put the issue on the government’s agenda via the Department of Culture Media and Sport.

Simon Hughes, Vice Chair, BVEP said: “This is a great idea. The challenges of dealing with the legacy of Covid-19 will impact across so many different sectors – from our amazing front line health staff through to all the key workers that have kept things ticking over during the last couple of months. 

“Providing support for their mental health and wellbeing after everything they have been through will be essential.  Working in the events and hospitality sector has always been a dynamic and often stressful experience and the added pressures we have all had to endure makes paying attention to our mental health and getting support to do so will be one of the key components in the recovery planning process.”

The initiative forms part of the HBAA’s ongoing Mental Health campaign launched 18 months ago. HBAA is running a series of webinars on mental health and a wide range of other topics to help members during this time. The latest ‘Covid Coffee Session’, held today, focussed on the government’s furlough scheme and other HR issues and was hosted by Amy Martin, Managing Director of Absolute Works, which specialises in HR and employment law.

Leigh Cowlishaw, HBAA past Chair and Board member who is driving the mental health agenda, said: “We are hoping for further government funding, specifically because many businesses are focused on simply surviving the economic impact of the current global situation and Mental Health First Aider Training may not be such a priority. However, everyone’s mental health is being impacted right now and people are our biggest assets, to all businesses – without them you do not have a business.

“We have to ensure everyone understands that ‘it is OK not to be OK’ and has someone to help them, with toolkits and continuous culture. With lockdown starting to be phased back, we will be expecting to come out of the blocks and therefore we must ensure that we continue to support our people and ourselves to thrive and survive.”

Mental Health First Aider Training, accredited by Mental Health First Aid England, provides participants with a recognised qualification and the skills to advocate the topic of mental health in the workplace and recognise if an individual may need support. HBAA continues to work in collaboration with Balancing Edges and Eventwell to deliver such support and expertise.

This initiative forms part of the #HBAAfuturefit 6.5 step recovery plan which is to be unveiled. HBAA is committed to supporting the re-opening of the economy and elevating these steps, which will aid the next stages of this pandemic and create customer confidence in meeting, travelling and buying.

#HBAAfuturefit