TWO senior property professionals at estate agent Dacre, Son & Hartley have become mental health 'champions'.

Area manager Chris O’Mahony and head of residential lettings, Emma Kerrywood, both underwent specialist training provided by Mental Health First Aid England (MHFA).

They were the first from the company – which has offices in North Street, Keighley – to take part in the initiative.

Mr O'Mahony said: "Both Emma and I have experiences of close friends and relatives with mental health illnesses and we think it’s really important to look out for our colleagues.

"Since doing the course we feel more knowledgeable about how to identify if a colleague is struggling, and how to offer support and guidance."

According to MHFA, around one in four people will experience mental health issues in any given year.

Mrs Kerrywood said: "We have a duty of care to our colleagues to support their mental health and wellbeing.

"The course gave us an insight into how it feels for people living with depression.

"We learned that mental health and wellbeing travel up and down on a sliding scale and how to recognise the signs that people are struggling, as well as looking at how people cope with stress.

"The main message we both came away with was to ask how people are doing and to listen to their responses non-judgmentally."

The duo is now working with the firm's human resources manager, Rebecca Reeves, to design and implement a programme promoting good mental health and providing support to employees experiencing difficulties.