Dr. Raimund Reik
New approach to health at Aviation
Every year almost 30% of adults in Germany become mentally ill, but only about 20% of them get in touch with doctors or counseling centers. Diehl Aviation has found a way to offer employees low-threshold support.
"Mental illness is becoming more visible; it is socially noticeable - we notice it," explains Dr. Raimund Reik. Global crises intensify uncertainties that put a strain on some employees.
Challenges for families and relationships have also increased; there are dual challenges of caregiving and support; and on top of that, there are changes at work. "We take our employees' concerns seriously," affirms Dr. Reik. "In order to catch them and offer help at an early stage, many measures have been created to promote mental health. One of them is the “Mental Health First Aid” concept." Since 2021, work has been underway to establish a network of these contacts at Diehl Aviation.
First aid for mental health
The HR department and members of the works council are active in this field and approach people who have a certain degree of experience and are interested in becoming a mental first aider. Basic knowledge is built up via a training course.
"First aiders stand by a person until he or she receives professional help or overcomes the acute crisis. They can also arrange for further help if the person so requests. Confidentiality is the most important requirement here," Dr. Reik explains the concept. The mental first aiders are by no means a substitute for professional counseling or therapy - they are more like guides at eye level. The first aiders also do not make diagnoses. "Our aim is to strengthen cohesion among employees and counteract the stigmatization of people who are ill," the expert emphasizes. In order to achieve a healthy culture that takes mental and physical health seriously, managers are trained as well. Diehl Aviation has been developing health management in a targeted manner since 2017.
In the meantime, the pilot project in Dresden has been completed and will be set up at all other locations. At each location first aiders are trained and will be approachable for mental health issues. "We can build upon a good basis – the topic of health management has been further developed in a targeted manner at the corporate division since 2017."
In 2022, the project was awarded the Deutsche Personalwirtschaftspreis (German HR management award).