Civil engineers Barhale tackle mental illness

Civil engineers Barhale tackle mental illness

One of the UK’s largest privately owned civil engineering and infrastructure specialists, Barhale, has developed its own mental health awareness course, Engineering Better Mental Health Management

The half day course is recognised by the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM), the UK’s leading specialist provider of leadership qualifications and the programme is also supported by Humber Foundation NHS Trust.

“I think that the course Barhale is offering is ground breaking in terms of promoting mental health within construction industries,” says Mike Gill, Training Development Officer at Humber Foundation NHS Trust.


Karen Egan, ILM’s West Midlands Business Manager said: “We’re really pleased to recognise Barhale’s new Mental Health management course. The work they are doing to equip managers at every level with the skills they need to effectively support those for who they have responsibility, is commendable and represents a really positive change in the way we talk about and prepare for these issues. It has been great to work with Barhale to develop what I believe will be a high quality, high impact programme.”

It is intended to equip line managers with the knowledge, understanding, skills and capability to effectively and confidently identify and support colleagues’ health concerns.

All Barhale managers, as well as anybody with supervisory responsibilities, will actively take part in the programme. Barhale collaborated with Walsall College, whose drama students have filmed six mental health scenarios, which includes people displaying symptoms of schizophrenia or anxiety.

Barhale has also worked closely with local NHS services. Barhale’s Health and Wellbeing Advisor Jo Southan said: “I don’t think there is anything like this in our sector at the moment.”

“The statistics around mental health in construction are truly worrying. It’s been widely recognised that one in four people have mental health concerns, while a report commissioned by Public Health England last year found that male construction workers were at the greatest risk of suicide.

“It is our duty, as a responsible employer, to maintain both the physical and mental welfare of all our colleagues. For us it is particularly pertinent as it is the Year of Engineering. Over 200 head office and site based line managers will initially take part in the initiative to equip them recognise the signs and symptoms of mental health issues and to be confident to discuss them and deal with them.

Work Experience Co-ordinator at Walsall College Jaswant Sembhi said: “We are delighted to support Barhale in this very worthy project.”

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