A PAIR of caring Barrhead pub workers are urging more people in the industry to get savvy about mental health after completing a ‘life-saving’ awareness course.

Mary Leonard and Nicola Gauld, who work at the Brigg Inn, have completed a mental health first aid course with the aim of becoming more aware of the signs someone might be struggling.

The course was organised by awareness group Lean on Me in conjunction with the charity Recovery Across Mental Health as part of a push to get more businesses to clue themselves up on matters of the mind.

And 47-year-old Nicola, who helps her dad Bud to manage the Cross Arthurlie Street pub, said it was vital for bar staff to be switched on about their customers’ wellbeing.

Nicola told the Barrhead News: “I think it’s such a good course to go on because when you work in this industry you come across all sorts of people. Sometimes people never see another person once they leave the pub so it’s important we are aware and give them a wee bit of our time.

“We now know how to point people in the right direction, even if we cannot help them ourselves. We can give them advice on where to go for help.

“I think it’s important we are more aware of mental health because sometimes it can be more serious just being a bit down in the dumps. 

“There was once a time if someone acted in a strange manner in a pub you would just brush them off, but now we know to look out for things in conversations when we’re serving such as if someone says they feel worthless.”

Mary, 49, said the course had changed her outlook and could potentially save lives.

The mum-of-one added: “It was a real eye-opener.

“When you work in a pub you can be quite quick to judge people when they come in, such as when an older person comes in. You can think ‘do they not have anything better to do?’. 

“But they might be isolated and looking for some company.

“It’s certainly changed my outlook and I would encourage other bar staff to do it as it was really informative. You could save a life.”

Lean on Me was a group formed last year following the sudden death of Barrhead man Anthony Quinn, who had suffered from severe mental health issues.

As well as holding an annual candlelit walk through the town, the group is now on a mission to spread the word about the importance of looking out for people and their mental wellbeing.

Frances Quinn, Anthony’s sister, said: “I know Anthony spent a lot of time in cafes and pubs and the people in there can sometimes be the people to spot something is wrong. 

“We think its great what Nicola and Mary have done and we hope more businesses will come on board.”

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