Mental Health Awareness DayOctober 7 2015
I have been holding organising events on a monthly basis within Capita O2. It became apparent that a lot of the workforce were suffering from some sort of mental health issues and it was impacting their day to day living; so I decided that we had to do something about it and started looking into organising a mental health awareness day.
Firstly, I spoke to business about the reasons for their long term absences, and the majority were mental health issues. I told them of my plan to hold the mental health awareness day, and the business agreed that we had to do something to show people where they can get support. O2 run a free counselling service called EAP, but when O2 TUPE transferred to Capita, members no longer hand access to the EAP.
I Googled Scottish mental health charities and contacted them to see what materials they had on offer to support the event.
There were Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH), who sent me out a selection of booklets; Breathing Space, who also supplied some booklets and business cards that people could discretely take away; MIND supplied leaflets which were stapled onto the front of our member packs and Fiona Barlow from Samaritans came along to offer support and provided a lot of excellent materials.
I also emailed and called a few other charities who were unfortunately unable to provide any support.
With all the materials collected and delivered, I the approached the business to give them an update and asked for them to send out a comms to everyone informing them of the mental health awareness day and also asked them to provide some sweets and chocolate.
On Thursday 25th February 2015 I held the event. I had 3 large tables full of materials from different charities. Through the course of the event, it became clear that a lot of people needed this information whether it be for themselves or family and friends. I had to refill the leaflets and booklets many times as so many people had taken them. It was also a day where people in the non-recognised areas of the business could find out more about the union.
I think it’s fundamental that we get this information out to our members and let them know they are not alone and there is plenty of help out there, and that we are on hand to support them.
Did you know that :
- 1 in 4 people will experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year, with mixed anxiety and depression the most common mental disorder in Britain.
- Women are more likely to have been treated for a mental health problem than men and about ten percent of children have a mental health problem at any one time.
- Depression affects 1 in 5 older people.
- Suicide rates show that British men are three times as likely to die by suicide than British women and self-harm statistics for the UK show one of the highest rates in Europe: 4th per 100,000 population
- Only 1 in 10 prisoners has no mental disorder.
Stats are provided from mentalhealth.org.uk
Mental health awareness week is 11-17 May 2015, the topic is mindfulness and I would encourage every branch, rep and officer to participate in this. The more we do to highlight what help there is and support our members, the more it will benefit everyone.
National Youth Committee Vice-Chair
Regional Youth Secretary (Scotland)