Tilhill Forestry’s ground-breaking mental health first aid initiative

20 January 2020

Tilhill Forestry, part of the BSW Timber Group, has launched an initiative to help safeguard the mental health of its workers by training 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 than for those working in other industries. There are several contributing factors to this alarming statistic including: The isolation of workers; The fact that the weather is a dominant factor in planning and site conditions; Frustrations caused by time constraints imposed on the industry to work within certain time windows due to environmental restrictions, particularly relating to planting and harvesting.

In order to be able to provide the best possible support, Tilhill Forestry selected 15 employees across the country to attend a two-day training course on becoming a Mental Health First Aider. The diversity of attendees was significant being a mix of a wide range in seniority, working locations and job roles.

The course covered several important areas: Understanding attitudes towards mental health; Suicide and how to talk about it; Understanding depression and anxiety; Delivering mental health first aid in a working environment.