This week has been Mental Health Foundation's Mental Health Awareness Week.
In our recent poll, 80% of people voted that they thought it was extremely important that your employer/future employer provides access to suitable mental health support resources to it's employees.
At Mears, we believe it's paramount that we support our colleagues with any mental health/wellbeing issues. That's why we have access to a 24/7 Employee Assistance Programme, an easy to access online Wellbeing Hub, as well as trained Mental Health First Aiders who have first hand experience of the devestating effects that poor mental health can have on people.
Our colleague and Mental Health first aider, Sandra shared her experience and the driving force behind her wanting to do the Mental Health training.
I think I was one of the first in Mears to complete the Mental Health First Aider training at the start of 2019.
I did the training ten days after the terrible news that a friend had taken her own life; she was just one of 6,507 suicides registered in the UK in 2018.
She had stopped coming to the gym, was not returning my calls or messages and I could not pop round to see her as she had just moved and not given me her new address.
It transpired that something happened that had caused her great anxiety and sent her on a rapid downward spiral, leading her to withdraw from everyday life and friends, with tragic consequences.
This all happened so quickly, over just a six-week period. I could not get my own head around this for quite a while and just kept thinking it did not have to be this way, that this concern could have been dealt with and there was light at the end of the tunnel if she had only been able to get through and beyond this troubled “moment in time”.
Everyone feels low at some point in their lives and if you’re struggling to cope it may be difficult to see beyond this current situation.
We have lived through some challenging times over the past couple of years, and there are many new challenges ahead if you keep up with the news.
There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to dealing with mental health challenges, and I am sure none of us would consider we have any expertise in dealing or coping with these things when they arise. We are all different and handle things in different ways.
There are some simple ways that we can help or support others, as outlined by the mental health charity MIND which states: "The main aspect of supporting someone through this is compassion, listening and most importantly not over-reacting or becoming upset. remaining calm and talking the situation through is extremely important", and suggests the following:
- encourage them to talk about their feelings
- encourage them to seek treatment and support
- offer emotional support
- offer practical support
- help them think of ideas for self-help
- help them to make a support plan
"It has helped me to have someone who loves me who accepts that I am feeling what I am feeling, and yet chooses to remain with me quietly and encourage, but not force me, to have a sip of water or a bite of something, or go for a walk with them, etc."
The Samaritans also provide essential support if you are going through a difficult time or worried about someone who is.
They can be contacted free, at any time, on 116 123 and more details can be found via link below.
-Sandra Butler, Head of Business Support