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Spotlight Interview – Stephen Peal | PPSPower – Mental Health First Aid in the Workplace

Stephen Peal
25 February 2021 | Updated 25 October 2022
 

Stephen Peal is the Managing Director of PPSPower and has recently become a qualified Mental Health First Aider through MHFA England. We spoke to him about the qualification and the importance of mental health first aid in the workplace.

With a history spanning 60 years, PPSPower is one of the industry’s largest and most respected providers of generator servicing, fire pump and UPS maintenance and repair solutions. Stephen Peal has recently become a role model manager by taking up the responsibility for Mental Health First Aid in his company, with plans to roll out training to employees.

 

The Value of Mental Health Training

 

"The qualification helps you to understand employees better and how they can be supported. Naturally, an employee that feels supported, valued and understood will perform better."

 


– Stephen Peal
Managing Director, PPSPower

Stephen champions the high standard of the qualification, yet also notes that you don't need to be an academic to gain empathetic insights from the course. Just as common first aiders are not doctors, for mental health they are not therapists, but instead the first point of support that helps to signpost issues and encourage the directions or forums to deal with them. "The qualification helps you to understand employees better and how they can be supported, naturally an employee that feels supported, valued and understood will perform better," he explained. "This understanding will also help leaders and people managers to make the right approach, to enable improvements and performance much quicker."

Aware that he wears “two hats” as a business leader and first aider, he understands that not everyone will feel comfortable approaching him due to his position. It is however important that people feel that their managers genuinely care about their wellbeing, and are able to understand their perspective, which is why the training is important at different levels of an organisation's hierarchy.

 

Expanding the Responsibility for First Aid

 

"Recently anxiety, depression and stress accounted for 43 per cent of all working days lost to ill health."

While not commonplace in the workplace when currently compared to physical first aid providers, it seems clear to Stephen that it is almost as important for health, safety and wellbeing. "Mental health first aid in the workplace should be looked at as first aid in the workplace. There are very few, if no, businesses that don’t have a first aider. A first aider’s job is to ensure that everyone is safe until professional help arrives." 

With physical accidents at work, many severe and longer lasting developments after accidents can be prevented by educated responses from those on the scene. The same is true for the minds of staff, which are just as vital to productivity. "One in four people will experience mental health issues in any given year. Recently anxiety, depression and stress accounted for 35 per cent of all work-related ill health, and 43 per cent of all working days lost to ill health." These and similar statistics highlight the need to address this even more post-COVID. Stephen also spoke for Time to Talk Day this month, promoting the honest communication that is in everyone's best interests.

 

"All businesses have people within them, and the greatest asset for any business is people."


Watch the Spotlight Interview to Learn More…

 


 

If you're interested in becoming a Mental Health First Aider or want to propose the training for your own organisation, please visit Mental Health First Aid England.

Picture: Stephen Peal.

Article written by Bailey Sparkes | Published 25 February 2021

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