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Mental Health Awareness week: 16–22 May

The theme for Mental Health Awareness week this year focuses on relationships and how fundamental the quality of those relationships are to our mentMental Health Awareness weekal health and wellbeing, whether we personally struggle with mental ill health or not.

The Mental Health Foundation is challenging individuals to make more of an effort in their relationships and make a ‘relationship revolution’; to really assess the time spent actively forging and nurturing relationships at work and in personal lives – are we really ‘present’ when listening to someone or is our mind elsewhere?

Take time to reflect on friendships and what they can offer you; and you them.

Mind and Relate research found that 74 per cent of people surveyed who had a mental health problem, said they felt comfortable to regularly talk to their partner about their mental health. 60 per cent of those felt it made their relationship easier to manage which is a positive change.

Mental ill health can be isolating; relationships with others help to provide perspective, support and can boost self-confidence and self-worth as well as encouraging good lifestyle choices.

Some stats from the Health and Safety Executive from October last year showed a significant increase in numbers of mental health cases reported in the period 2014–2015.  Mental health has overtaken musculoskeletal disorders as the most common reason for absence from work; 20 per cent of the working age population in the UK are suffering with a diagnosed mental health issue.

This is why it is so important that we talk about mental health in our workplace and ensure that staff are aware of the help and support we are able to provide.

Starting a conversation about mental health doesn’t have to be difficult….

  • If you know a colleague, family member of friend is struggling, just asking genuinely how they are can make such a difference
  • Try and keep in touch with family and friends, however much you feel that it would be easier to be alone
  • Confide in a colleague or line manager if you are struggling
  • Contact the University’s Employee Assistance Programme – telephone counselling available 24/7, face to face counselling assessment also available
  • Request a ‘Mini Health MOT’ appointment directly with the Occupational Health Service by phoning ext 3187 for a confidential assessment
  • Ask your line manager or HR Officer for a referral to the Occupational Health Service if you think your work is being affected
  • Visit your General Practitioner to discuss treatment options

The following publications from Mind may be useful for further information:

How to be mentally healthy at work

Information and guidance for helping someone else

How to increase your self esteem

How to cope with loneliness

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