ScotRail has announced it will train more than 50 staff in mental health first aid.

The training, which is accredited by the NHS, is designed to help employees identify people who may require assistance and guide them towards the appropriate support services.

The programme, which involves instruction on listening, reassuring and asking about suicide where appropriate, has already been completed by some Scotrail staff.

The announcement followed the start of Mental Health Awareness Week, which began yesterday.

ScotRail occupational health manager Nadya Kuhl said that “ScotRail is absolutely committed to providing appropriate support for mental health issues and the introduction of mental health first aiders will enhance what we can deliver for our own people and customers,” adding that the rail provider was well aware of “the importance of engaging and identifying the signs of someone in need of support and how critical this can be to helping with treatment, and ultimately saving lives.”

“If even just one person who is going through a difficult time gets the help they need, then it will be worthwhile,” she added.

Tom Scott from See Me, which aims to tackle mental health stigma and discrimination, urged other employers to ensure staff are supported in the workplace.

Scott said: “There is a significant problem with people in Scotland being able to speak openly about their mental health, especially at work. We want organisations to create cultures that are open in talking about mental health and where discriminatory behaviour is challenged,” he said.

“It’s great to see the action that ScotRail are taking to give their staff the confidence and knowledge to have open and supportive conversations on mental health. We have been working with them for the past few months and this is one of a number of things the company has done to challenge stigma and improve cultures for both their staff and their customers.

“When someone is struggling with their mental health, they deserve help and compassion, and we would urge all workplaces to ensure that their staff feel confident and able to speak about mental health.”