A TOP hotel has taken the innovative step of introducing a team of mental health first aiders
in a bid to help staff who may be suffering in silence.
The Abbey House Hotel and Gardens has invested in training for three of its senior
managers to help them understand and spot the symptoms of mental ill-health.
Now it is planning to further extend the programme as it seeks to make the four-star venue
one at which mental health is freely spoken about in positive terms.
General manager John Horton said: “We’re very keen at the Abbey House Hotel and
Gardens to do what we can to look after both the physical and mental health of our team.
“People who have mental health challenges can quite often internalise them, when the best
thing to do is seek the appropriate help and support.
“Our mental health first aiders are not trained counsellors, however, they have been coached
in what to look out for and the next steps to take, should they feel that a colleague is in need
Figures from the Mental Health Foundation show that 1 in 6.8 people experience mental
health problems in the workplace (14.7%).
Women in full-time employment are nearly twice as likely to have a common mental health
problem as full-time employed men, while evidence suggests that 12.7 per cent of all
sickness absence days in the UK can be attributed to mental health conditions.
Three members of the Abbey House team have taken the training to date; head chef Ashley
Wood, marketing manager, Yasmin Platt, and events manager Gemma Murphy.
Yasmin said: “It was a very intense and emotional two days. We learned so much about the
different ways in which mental health can affect somebody.
“It has certainly changed the way in which I think about mental health, and also my
perspective on the issue. I’m finding that I am far more aware of my colleagues’ behaviour
and demeanor and am tuned in to the signs they may be having difficulties.
“It was such a worthwhile two days and I think it’s great that as a business we are doing
The training, which was delivered by Dalton based SOA Safety is set to be further rolled out
over the course of the year.