Mind matters; today and every day

Our Mind Matters team is made up of mental health first aid trained individuals who are passionate about supporting their colleagues and raising awareness of issues such as anxiety and depression. With Mental Health Awareness Week underway, we look at how the team has been helping others throughout the year and the topics they have been exploring during the campaign week.

Recent data shows that 8 million people are experiencing an anxiety disorder at any time, yet only 37% of people are receiving professional treatment. In 2020/2021, anxiety, depression and stress accounted for 50% of work-related ill health cases, with the number of cases currently higher than pre-COVID numbers. 

Our innovative OFR Mind Matters initiative was established in 2020, following the impact of the first COVID lockdown. It was created to promote awareness and educate colleagues about mental health, reduce stigma and drive a supportive, healthy working environment. All representatives are trained Mental Health First Aiders, available to all to provide a confidential, non-judgemental support, to provide relevant information and encouragement to seek help. 

No one is alone

Throughout this Mental Health Awareness week, some members of our Mind Matters team have been sharing different anxiety disorders that they have experienced first-hand and describing how they affect them at work and home. The aim of sharing their stories is to highlight mental health challenges, to show that no one is alone if they experience an anxiety disorder, and to help everyone to be aware of how anxiety can affect someone’s life.

Sessions include talking about experiences with Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), supporting a loved one who has anxiety and perinatal anxiety.

Sharing experiences

Talking about why they are involved, our colleagues Sara from the London office and Katrina from the Glasgow office share their experiences: Sara said: “When the opportunity to become a mental health first aider came up, I was excited. From my own mental health journey I have spent the better part of the last ten years learning about emotional resilience and armchair neuroscience, both to help myself and because I find it very fascinating. One of my goals is to bring mental health awareness to engineers, and help engineers develop tools to identify and work with their own mental health journeys.”

Katrina added: “I became a mental health first aider back in July 2020 at the beginning of the Mind Matters team. Having mental health first aiders is something I’ve always thought is a fantastic idea, particularly in the construction industry as I had read a really hard-hitting statistic about mental health within the construction industry being one of the worst in the UK.

“I decided to become a mental health first aider and join the Mind Matters team as I wanted to be support for anyone who is struggling with their mental health. I consider myself a very approachable person and I wanted to be able to help others where I could.”

You can also find out more about this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week here whilst the following resources are also useful:


Sam Bryant

Graduate Fire Engineer

View more posts by Sam Bryant

Katrina Speirs-Simpson


View more posts by Katrina Speirs-Simpson