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Mental Health Awareness week

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Mental Health Awareness week is a great prompt to remind us to take time to focus on our own mental health and the mental health of others. One in four of us will experience a mental health problem each year.

The last few years have been a difficult time for many of us, with all the uncertainty that we have experienced, especially regarding our health. Yet, we still need to make sure that we provide for ourselves, our loved ones and those less fortunate which can lead to us feeling overwhelmed.

Whilst advice is plentiful about how to improve and manage your mental health, it is important to remember there is no one ‘solution’. However, making time for yourself when you can, and focusing on positive experiences and / achievements can help to calm your mind. If you are feeling overwhelmed, either inside or outside of work, it is important to seek advice from others. This could be advice from professionals about improving your mental health, or practical advice about the aspects that are causing you concern, either work or non-work related, for example managing debt, or improving relationships.

If you are comfortable to talk to colleagues about your mental health, do so, it can help you and it can help to open the conversation about mental health more generally in the workplace.

It is also important to remember your colleagues may need to talk, though they may feel uncomfortable to take the first step and bring up their concerns. As such it is important to leave space and opportunities for colleagues to talk about what they need to talk about. One of the key pieces of advice that springs to mind is to ask the second question. For example, when you meet someone and ask them how they are, do not just make this merely a social pleasantry, but really listen to the answer and how it is delivered, then ask a follow-on question. You do not have to be a qualified counsellor to help someone, just be open to listening to what they have to say in a supportive, non-judgemental way and create the opportunity for them to speak about their concerns. Don’t rush the conversation.

If you need support and are not sure where to go, you can contact the Benevolent Fund.

Philip Baker
Safety Health and Wellbeing Panel


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