Mental Health Awareness Week

Mental Health in Our Workplace for Mental Health Awareness Week from 10-16th May 2021

Hosted by the Mental Health foundation, this year’s theme is ‘NATURE’ EDF Mental Health Supporters Network (MHSN) have confirmed the network is leading a companywide nature theme for Mental Health awareness week.  The nature theme is mirroring what is being highlighted on https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week

Throughout the week there will be daily safety messages penned by Kate Cusick alongside individual pod casts from volunteers talking about how getting out and about and taking part in various activities helps improve their mental health.

Barbara Thurston has confirmed that the company has provided some financial contributions – approx. £3,000 for the year. Some of that money has been agreed to cover the costs of purchasing bee bombs (flower fat balls) these will be given or individuals inputs of stories/photos etc. MHSN are working in collaboration with young professionals’ network to look at highlighting the already existing free online classes that is offered on Community online academy, alongside you and linked in (yoga, mindfulness etc).

UNISON learning for Mental Health and Wellbeing

This is a strange time. Your workload may have doubled, or you may have been asked to stay at home and avoid other people. Things may be difficult, or stressful, or frightening. With that in mind, we’ve gathered together some resources designed to help you look after your mental health and wellbeing. Some of these were created by UNISON; some come from other organisations that we work with.

First up, there’s our Staying Strong online course. This is based on our very popular stress awareness workshop. It explores some of the different forms of stress and the way that it can affect you and introduces some techniques to help you deal with stress. You can work through it at your own pace and return to it whenever you like. You’ll find it on our e-learning site – use your My.UNISON account to log in. Link https://learning.unison.org.uk/skills-academy/

What kinds of support can I access?

EDF have a fantastic Alongside You page there are links all sorts of help, free counselling sessions with someone qualified to help and its completely confidential.

The NHS’s Every Mind Matters has some expert advice on how to maintain your mental wellbeing if you need to stay at home. It also has practical tips on coping with anxiety, getting a better night’s sleep, dealing with stress and improving your mood.

Managing stress

Stress is a normal part of life and there isn’t one solution for every stressful situation. However, talking to others is a simple yet effective way to reduce stress and improve wellbeing.  This short let’s talk guide from Nuffield Health includes five conversation starters you can use if you’re feeling stressed and need some support.

Be kind to yourself

Nuffield Health has shared some tips on how to be kinder to yourself while working from home. From having a morning routine to maintaining clear working hours, there are things we can all do to help improve our emotional wellbeing. Use this handy checklist to help you leave work at work.

For better mental health

Mental health charity MIND has developed materials to help you if you’re struggling to maintain your wellbeing during the pandemic.

How can I access help daily?

Mental Health First Aiders for Doxford are here to help you anytime you need to talk just e-mail MentalHealthFirstAidDoxford@edfenergy.com

They are Lawson, Pauline, Debbie Kew, Adam Bell, Rachael Costello, Nicola Goldsmith, Rachel Miller, Prince Murefu, Doug Turner, Ami Usher, and Cherilyn Ferguson.

All site links are:

Please be aware there is always someone to talk to, visit The Hub of Hope page just type in your postcode and all resources in your area will show https://hubofhope.co.uk/

All of us go through periods where we feel unhappy and fed up, but sometimes experiences of low mood, sadness, tearfulness, difficulty sleeping, lack of energy and loss of interest in the things we enjoy – often referred to as depression – can persist for weeks or months.

Although a common experience, it can be very distressing – and even life-threatening for those of us who feel so desperate that we consider taking our own lives. Often it is related to the events and circumstances of our lives and the meaning that they have for us. This is particularly true for loss, or experiences that make us feel hopeless, humiliated, defeated, ashamed or trapped (see Trauma & post-traumatic stress). Sometimes it’s hard to work out what started it, but we feel stuck in a vicious circle of despair and lethargy.

Some of us experience periods of depression and also periods where we feel elated, ‘high’ and full of energy, but also often agitated, restless, and we find it hard to sleep. This experience is sometimes called ‘bipolar’ (see Understanding bipolar experiences).

In terms of help, different things help different people. Often practical things such as self-care are central, including exercise, eating and sleeping well. Doing things that connect us with others, including people with similar experiences, either informally or in organised peer support groups can be a big help. Therapy or counselling can help us understand what might have led to our feelings of depression and what might be keeping it going, and can help us find ways to support ourselves and to regulate our physical and emotional states. Some people find medication helpful. Depression and loneliness often go hand in hand, so finding ways to connect or reconnect with our friends, families and communities can be key.

Help with Anxiety

Anxiety is a normal and necessary part of life and the way we have evolved to recognise and avoid danger. It is part of a ‘fight or flight’ response which readies our body for action, increasing our breathing and heart rate. In turn we might feel faint, sweaty or breathless.

Sometimes anxiety can be difficult to cope with. Often this can be when we start worrying that these manifestations of anxiety mean something dangerous in themselves, for example that we are going to collapse, have a heart attack or lose control.

This can lead to a ‘panic attack’ where these worrying thoughts lead to an increase in the bodily sensations of anxiety, leading to more worrying thoughts. We might start avoiding specific places or things that have become associated with anxiety (phobias), or find it difficult to go out at all (agoraphobia). Sometimes we can feel compelled to check things repeatedly, or to repeat certain thoughts or actions to stave off anxiety or worrying thoughts (see Obsessions & compulsions).

Experiences of anxiety may also be linked to past traumatic experiences (see Trauma & post-traumatic stress).

In terms of what can help, there are many good self-help resources (e.g. Overcoming Anxiety, 2nd Edition: A self-help guide using cognitive behavioural techniques). Therapy or counselling can help us understand what might have led to our feelings of anxiety, and what might be keeping it going, and can help us find ways to support ourselves and to regulate our physical and emotional states.

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