Brian Sims

ABM UK invests in Mental Health First Aid training programme for staff

INTEGRATED FACILITIES management solutions provider ABM UK has made good use of Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 to officially introduce a Mental Health First Aid training programme across its business and industry and aviation sector divisions. The investment is one of the first of its kind in the industry and has been created in partnership with TalkOut, the change and development platform.

The training programme will equip team members – such as security officers, train station cleaning teams and those working in airports and Shopping Centres – with the right skills for those occasions when they’re faced with difficult situations while at work.

The training roll-out began in March. Due to the overwhelmingly positive response from those involved, ABM has now invested further in the initiative. With the support of its clients, ABM will invest in training more team members across its clients’ sites and, indeed, across all job roles. This means that, by the beginning of the summer, 75 team members across the ABM UK business portfolio will be trained in Mental Health First Aid.

John McPherson, managing director at ABM UK, explained: “Our teams are working among the public every day and we recognise the positive role that they can play in identifying those who are struggling with poor mental health and dealing with critical situations. As we begin to emerge from what has been an extremely challenging time, this issue has never been more important.”

McPherson added: “It’s our duty to support our teams and equip them with the right skills and knowledge to manage these situations. It’s also vital that we help and support them to process those difficult experiences in the wake of them taking place. There are always lessons to be learned.”

The Mental Health First Aid training is provided by TalkOut over a series of sessions and focuses on developing the skills needed to assist in a moment of crisis. On completion of the course, all individuals will be qualified as Mental Health First Aiders.

Significant challenges

Antony Marke, managing director at ABM Aviation, commented: “Similar to colleague teams working in the business and industry world, those operating in the aviation sector have seen significant challenges over the past 13 months. Many of our team members have been on extended periods of furlough and, as a result, they may find returning to the workplace gives them varying levels of anxiety. Having access to ‘in-house’ subject matter experts in their places of work will help to ensure that they feel fully supported and build their confidence in the early days’.

Leanne Stant, head of mental health at TalkOut, stated: “Mental health problems can present lots of difficult moments of crisis. Suicide and self-harm are big problems and should be treated carefully and compassionately. It’s so important that we equip those people on the ground being faced with someone in a moment of crisis with the right skills to manage the situation.” 

Stant went on to observe: “ABM is leading by example here. The organisation’s commitment to supporting good mental health and well-being within the facilities management and aviation industry is commendable.”

*ABM Industries Incorporated, which operates through its subsidiaries, was founded back in 1909. For more information visit

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