Mental Health Awareness - Let's talk

Mental Health Awareness - Let's talk

 28 May 2020

Glenn Close said “What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candor, more unashamed conversation” and I could not agree more. Although many of you might not know May is the official month of Mental Health Awareness and if I’m honest I didn’t even know it was May until I was reminded. But that’s okay, this year’s been rough for everyone and the good news is no one is alone in how they’re feeling. But to find out who these people are, just like Glen Close said, we must start talking. Talk to your friends, your family or a stranger – trust me it helps.
 
We’re in a public health emergency and contrary to what most people think, this isn’t just people’s physical health that is under attack, it’s also their mental wellbeing. The world is stressed. Children can sense there is something wrong, they can’t see their grandparents and mum and dad make them wash their hands all the time, not to mention they can’t see their friends at nursery/school. Teenagers are worrying about their future with exams being cancelled, not knowing if they can move to university and can sense their parents’ worry. Workers who are still in their role are stressed about bringing the virus home to their family and workers who are on furlough are in this weird in-between of feeling lazy, but also not being able to work and of course, business owners everywhere are trying to make sure everyone has got a job to come back to. We’re facing a mental health emergency; one I fear won’t be going anywhere any time soon.
 
So, what can we do about it? The answer is simple – let’s talk. Let’s talk about what we went through during this time with our colleagues and what our fears are with returning to the workplace. Unfortunately, some may have gone through more and lost more during this time than others, but that doesn’t mean anyone’s wellbeing is more important than another. One of my top tips for workplaces would be to ensure you have a mental health first aider, someone who is trained and can help your staff whenever they need it. Ask who is interested in becoming one, as it may not be for everyone and it should be someone your staff would feel comfortable approaching. This may not always be someone in the management team. It’s also important to note some might not want to talk about it or feel ready to share so just make sure they know the help is there when or if they need it.
 
You are never alone. There is always someone you can talk to, and you can always be that person for someone else. Check on a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while and see how they’re getting on, ask your child how they’re feeling and what their worries are, check on an elderly or vulnerable neighbour and see if you could pick them up something when you do your essential shop. People need people, now more than ever.
 
It’s only a short blog today as I could go on for days about the subject of mental health and why it is important to highlight in the workplace, but I will leave you with some useful helplines and sources of information and I encourage you to use them if you need to.
  • MIND – The mental health charity - www.mind.org.uk
  • SAMH - Info and advice for people living in Scotland - 0344 800 0550 - www.samh.org.uk/ 
  • Samaritans – Call 116 123 for free 24/7
  • Shout – Text SHOUT to 85258 if you’re more comfortable speaking to someone through text
  • Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) - For men at risk of suicide – 0800 58 58 58 – thecalmzone.net
  • Sudden – Support for people bereaved by sudden death – 0800 121 6510 – suddendeath.org
  • Refuge – Support for children and woman experiencing abuse – 0808 2000 247 – refuge.org.uk
  • Men’s advice Line – Support for men experiencing abuse – 0808 801 0327 – mensadviceline.org.uk

 

 

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