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Dobbies increases support for team members’ mental health

UK garden centre retailer Dobbies will be increasing the mental health support of its 4,000 team members by training more mental health first aiders across its business. 

As part of the retailer’s continued commitment to the wellbeing of its team, it has increased the number of mental health first aiders (MHFA) from two to 16. The retailer will also be introducing several store level mental health champions, providing additional localised resources.

In addition to the MHFA and champion offerings, Dobbies also has wellbeing training available through its internal e-learning platform, including Mental Health Awareness, Practicing Mindfulness, Wellbeing at Dobbies, Stress Awareness, Suicide Prevention Awareness and Menopause Awareness.

According to the group, the aim is to “better equip the team to support those in need more effectively” through challenging times or personal change, whilst also encouraging techniques to help look after their own wellbeing and work-life balance.

Research from Retail Trust has found that 85% of retail managers in the UK reported an increase in mental health problems among their teams and more than half (54%) said team members have experienced issues that they felt ill-equipped to deal with.

Paul Green, head of people experience at Dobbies, said: “The wellbeing of our team members is of the utmost importance to us and it’s vital that we can support their mental health with support where possible.

“Often conversations with mental health first aiders will be the first time that people have opened up to anyone about their mental health and it is important that we have compassionate conversations about this sometimes sensitive subject, as well as offering support.” 

Iain McDonald, learning and development specialist at Dobbies, said: “I’m a people person and I wanted to expand my knowledge so that I can offer worthwhile support to team members in moments of need.

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