Ahead of Mental Health Awareness Week, which will run from 18-24 May, event industry association HBAA is calling on the government to support a 1:50 ratio of Mental Health First Aiders to staff across all industries, to help individuals cope with stress during Covid-19.

Fear and anxiety about job security, concern for a safe working environment, increased workloads and financial burdens are some pressures likely to effect mental wellbeing before and during the recovery period for businesses.

HBAA is working with the Business Visits & Events Partnership (BVEP) to request for funding towards the initiative. They have also placed the issue on the government’s agenda via the Department of Culture Media and Sport (DCMS).

The initiative forms part of the HBAA’s ongoing mental health campaign, alongside a series of webinars discussing mental health and other topics to help members during the pandemic. The initiative is also part of the #HBAAfuturefit 6.5 step recovery plan which is to be unveiled.

The Mental Health First Aider Training, accredited by Mental Health First Aid England, will provide participants with a recognised qualification and the skills to advocate mental health in the workplace. HBAA have collaborated with Balancing Edges and Eventwell to deliver this support.

Simon Hughes, Vice Chair, BVEP, said: “The challenges of dealing with the legacy of Covid-19 will impact across so many different sectors, from our amazing front line health staff through to all the key workers that have kept things ticking over during the last couple of months.”

Hughes continued that working in the events and hospitality sector can be a stressful experience. Therefore, paying attention to mental health and seeking support during a time of added pressure is a key component in the recovery planning process.

Leigh Cowlishaw, HBAA past chair and board member, added: “We are hoping for further government funding, specifically because many businesses are focused on simply surviving the economic impact of the current global situation and Mental Health First Aider Training may not be such a priority. However, everyone’s mental health is being impacted right now and people are our biggest assets, to all businesses, without them you do not have a business.”

She concluded: “We have to ensure everyone understands that ‘it is ok not to be ok’ and has someone to help them, with toolkits and continuous culture. With lockdown starting to be phased back, we will be expecting to come out of the blocks and therefore we must ensure that we continue to support our people and ourselves to thrive and survive.”