Dave and Eleanor
Dave and Eleanor

Johnsons staff members become mental health first aiders

10 October 2022

Employees at one of the UK’s largest commercial plant nurseries, Johnsons of Whixley have recently become mental health first-aiders ahead of World Mental Health Day on Monday 10th October.

Dave Barrett and Eleanor Richardson recently completed a two-day mental health course and became mental health first aiders.

Johnsons consider mental health and employee well-being in the workplace a priority, the first aiders will be the go-to contacts for anyone who is going through some form of crisis or mental health issue at work.

All 140 Employees at Johnsons will be encouraged to speak to the mental health first aiders who will then offer a listening ear and assist in informing them of the various agencies and helping advise on the available channels.

Dave and Eleanor are also in talks with the senior management team within the company and hope to make improvements to support their newfound course qualifications they have already implemented a specific email address where employees can contact the mental health first aiders direct.

Just as we all have physical health, we also have mental health. Like physical health, mental health can fluctuate from good to poor. Mental health can affect any of us irrespective of age, personality or background and can be an effect of experiences in our personal and working lives, or there might not even be a reason for it. Approximately one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year.

Johnsons retail unit manager and newly trained mental health first aider, Dave Barrett said: 

I think it’s more important than ever to make sure that everyone’s mental health is taken as seriously as their physical health. It became apparent more than ever during lockdown the fragility of everyone’s mental health and the impact this can play on our everyday lives.

I wanted to educate myself, so I can understand not only how to care for myself but also for others around me, both at work and at home.

The fact that 1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health issue in any given year shows that people’s need to understand and offer help is so important.


Johnsons office and marketing manager, Eleanor Richardson added:

Mental health is not one-size-fits-all, it can affect every walk of life at different points in someone’s life, and people shouldn’t feel ashamed of struggling with their mental health.

I hope people will feel comfortable coming forward and talking should they want to; Dave and I now have the tools, training and knowledge to actively listen to their situations and to help them.

It also made me think about ways in which we can make improvements in the workplace and what else we can do to support our employees – watch this space!

Johnsons of Whixley is situated between York and Harrogate and is a leading supplier of plants to commercial projects throughout the UK including Europe’s leading Science Campus, Harwell Science and Innovation Campus, Luxury hotel Grantley Hall, Skelton Lakes Services, The Event Complex, Aberdeen (TECA) and most recently Summer in the City, Quayside.

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