It's Good To Talk
As one of Pink Floyd's songs lyrics says - "All we need to do, is keep talking".
That has to be the main theme for the CWU in its activities across the country supporting this year's Mental health Awareness Week as the Union's mental health first aiders and safety reps took time out to promote their message that if you have any mental health issues, they are there for you to talk to over what it is that is causing you mental health problems.
But if talking was as easy as it appears to be when it comes to everyday things, it seems that when it comes to speaking about individuals mental health, it very quickly becomes the Elephant in the room.
Just why is this? Well, one of the CWU branches in the North West of England, Birkenhead LDO, addressed this very issue by asking their colleagues to write on a wall of Elephants, just what it is that stops them talking about their mental health. So, they did indeed do just that. Here are a few examples:
There was also the making of video messages and documents all designed with support and encouragement to talk, by several Mental Health First Aiders.
Here from the North West Region of the CWU, is a very emotional poem from Brian Parsons, which sums up just how it feels to be in the midst of overwhelming darkness and loss of direction, and struggling to find a way out of the void:
But above all the ending of this poem doe give hope and remind those suffering that they are not alone. As Brian says, in 2021, we are now in the 1 in 4 age of mental health problems which blight our lives.
This message of hope, support and the way to recovery, couldn't be clearer from some of our Mental Health First Aiders in the CWU in the North West:
In Wigan Delivery Office, the CWU MHFA Stu Hazelden, helped to change a dingy looking storeroom into a light and relaxing quiet room. Somewhere for those needing a break and when stress gets a bit much, can go to gather thoughts and chill out from the hustle and bustle of the office.
Meanwhile, in Woolton Delivery Office, the CWU MHFA, Carl Ireland; populated a free-standing and portable notice board with Mental Health leaflets and information.
Brian Parsons, CWU Lead Learning Rep for North West Central Amal, shows off his CWU credentials holding a CWU flag, doctored especially for Mental Health Awareness Week 2021, complete with the Lighthouse Logo used to symbolise unity with those in the Union who need help and support for their mental health well-being.
The lighthouse was the costal warning light to ensure ships did not flounder and break-up on the rocks as they navigated past the coastline in often heavy seas. The same can be taken with regard to our mental health, as being the situation at least 1 in 4 of us find ourselves in. The friendly and comforting lighthouse in this case, are the numerous well trained CWU Mental Health First Aiders out there in Branches, offering a safe haven from the storms raging inside their emotions.
This has been just a brief look at the activities that have taken place during this week of mental health awareness. With all of us at some point in our lives experiencing situations, whether they be in the form of work-place pressures, house moving, a divorce, deaths in the family or of friends and colleagues, an d even the birth of a child, losing a livelyhood and even losing a home; our mental health can truly suffer.
So, it is clear that weeks such as this, and the continued vigilance of those we love and our work colleagues, family and friends; are an imperative if we are to promote and cultivate a caring and supportive society, both in work and at home.
Jamie McGovern CWU Health & Safety Area Rep for the Grter Mersey Amal Branch, works tirelessly on mental health awareness campaigns and supports those needing help because they are suffering from stress, anxiety and depression.
Summing up on the work done by CWU MFHAs and the week he told Unionsafety:
"Our MHFAs have without doubt proved their value and worth to the North West Region and CWU. I am incredibly proud to have worked with Ady Prins and Steve Croke in taking 54 new MHFAs through both the classroom courses and Online courses.
Contact the services below for free, confidential support.
Remember, you are not alone.
• Samaritans: 116 123
• Mind Infoline: 0300 123 3393 (or text 86463)
• Workplace mental health support service: 0300 4568114
• Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM): 0800 58 58 58
• Prevention of Young Suicide (Papyrus) 0800 068 41 41
Even more information can be accessed using the Sway document which can be accessed by clicking on the pic above right.
Source: CWU North West Region / CWU Branches: Birkenhead LDO, Crosby DO, Warrington MPU / Jamie McGovern /Brian Parsons / Carl Ireland / Stu Hazeldon