The Regenda Group has become the first housing association to partner with national mental health charity, Chasing the Stigma, and has made a commitment to provide mental health awareness training to all its staff.
The organisation, which operates across the North West, has partnered with the Liverpool based mental health awareness charity to deliver of its Ambassadors of Hope mental health training program.
Ambassadors of Hope is a fully Ofqual accredited 20-minute training programme that will give staff better understanding of mental health, advise how to effectively signpost those who need help to appropriate support via the Hub of Hope app and how to deal with a mental health crisis. The Regenda Group is committed to providing this training for all its staff, over 700 in total, between now and the end of 2019.
Regenda will also be installing the Hub of Hope app, which was created by Chasing the Stigma, onto all employees work smart phones. The app enables people to find local and national support at the click of a button and is the UK’s first nationwide mental health support database.
The training will also benefit customers, many of who are the most marginalised in the country, as staff will be able offer support and advice. Neighbourhood officers, for example, might be the only people customers living in social isolation see and speak to, and so being able to signpost people to appropriate support could potentially save a life.
According to Mind, approximately one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. In England, one in six people report experiencing a common mental health problem, such as anxiety and depression, in any given week.
The Regenda Group operates across the North West and a range of sectors, including housing, training and apprenticeships, construction and charity. In one of one of the areas the organisation operates, St Helens, the suicide rate is the highest in the country. Public Health England research has also showed that men working in the construction industry are also at a high risk of suicide.
Chasing the Stigma was set up by comedian and writer, Jake Mills, who battled depression in 2013. After months of internal turmoil, Jake attempted to take his own life but was discovered before it was too late and made a full recovery. After opening up about his battle on social media, Jake was inundated with messages from people asking for help and this lead to him launching the national mental health awareness charity.
Michael Birkett, CEO at The Regenda Group, said: “Everyone will have experienced mental health difficulties or will know somebody who has. The Ambassadors of Hope training programme will equip each of our employees with a baseline understanding of mental health issues, how those battling mental health issues can be supported and how taboos associated with mental health can be challenged.
“We have taken steps to create a workplace that is positive about mental health and where support is readily accessible, including the appointment of mental health first aiders. However, I still felt there was more we could do, so when the opportunity to partner with Chasing the Stigma came along, we really didn’t need to think twice!
“The Regenda Group is extremely proud to be the first organisation of its kind to deliver this innovative and valuable training programme, the benefits of which will not only be felt by our workforce but also by friends, family and customers.”
Jake Mills, CEO of Chasing the Stigma, said: “By being the first housing association to partner with Chasing the Stigma and deliver the Ambassadors of Hope training to their staff, Regenda are sending a rallying call out to their peers and other organisations in their sector. Our partnership highlights they are acknowledging the presence and importance on mental health in everyone from board members and staff, through to the customers using their services.
“We are looking forward to our first training session in December and hope that others in the housing sector will follow Regenda’s example and equip their teams with the knowledge and tools to talk confidently about mental health and find or signpost to help."
The first mental health awareness training session will be delivered to The Regenda Group Leadership Team on 6 December 2018 and then the rolled out across the Group, including its subsidiaries M&Y Maintenance and Construction, Redwing Living, Petrus, Alder Training, Positive Footprints, Centre 56 and McDonald Property Rentals.
The Ambassadors of Hope training programme will form part of Regenda’s Do Good, Feel Good programme of events which combines all the Group’s charitable and health and wellbeing initiatives.
Jake will also be giving an overview of the programme to The Regenda Group staff at the organisation’s annual staff conference in December.