TILHILL Forestry is seeking to safeguard the mental health of its workers by engaging with an initiative designed to equip several staff across the country with the ability to offer mental health first aid.

It is widely acknowledged that the very nature of working in forestry can lead to higher levels of poor mental health within individuals than in those working in other industries. Contributing factors include: isolated working; weather being a dominant controller when it comes to planning and site conditions, meaning workers must be flexible and adapt their day and plans at short notice; and frustrations caused by time constraints imposed on the industry to work within certain time windows due to environmental restrictions.

In order to be able to provide the best possible support, Tilhill Forestry selected a number of willing and appropriate employees across the country to attend a two-day training course on becoming a mental health first aider.

The course objectives include: understanding attitudes towards mental health; suicide and how to talk about it; understanding depression and anxiety; and delivering mental health first aid in a working environment.

15 Tilhill employees received the training. The diversity of attendees was said to be significant, with a mix of a wide range in seniority, working locations and job roles.

The firm aims to provide a unique level of support when it comes to mental health, while reducing work-related mental health absence.