Tackling Mental Health

1 in 4 of us will experience mental health problems this year yet many people still do not believe problems are likely to affect them or anyone they know. But mental health problems can affect any of us - directly or otherwise. And, without the support from those around us, this can really have an impact on us at home and work. As part of our commitment to being a Responsible Business, we will be launching a year-long campaign of activities to encourage people to talk about and proactively manage their mental health and support those around them including our students.

Our campaign launches on World Mental Health Day, Tuesday 10th October.

The theme of our campaign is ‘In Your Corner’ and is part a bigger national campaign by Time to Change, a growing movement that’s changing how we all think and act about mental health. We will be signing Time for Change’s Employer Pledge and over the coming weeks and months we will be undertaking a range of activities and events from awareness raising and staff training and development to mindfulness sessions and gym challenges.

Together we can get people thinking and talking about mental health.

 

Personal Stories

Sharing personal stories can be a powerful way to increase awareness and change attitudes about mental health. Charlie works for the college and we’d like to thank her for sharing her story. You can read more stories here: https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/personal-stories.

 

Charlie Stephenson

Placement Support Officer - Gateshead College

"When you have a baby everyone tells you that the 'baby blues' are normal. You'll get incredibly upset for, seemingly, no reason around 5 days after your baby is born due to hormones settling down. You're warned about postnatal depression, the signs to watch out for and how you know it's no longer just the 'baby blues'. When you need to seek help. What you don't get told about is the crippling anxiety that can come with having a baby. As someone who had never experienced anxiety before, it has been the hardest thing to process. 

1 month after my daughter was born I was on a set of step ladders when I suddenly had an overwhelming feeling of dread. My mind was racing "What happens if i fall?" ,"I might die and my baby will be in the house alone until someone comes in." I had to get off them immediately and sit down. 

A month later my husband was due to pick me up at 5pm. He ended up being an hour late and I spent that hour going over all of the horrible things that could have happened to him. All of these thoughts are irrational, but in that moment they are all consuming. 

I would picture awful things happening to my baby, she might slip in the bath or fall out of her bouncer. I might drop her or forget about her and leave her somewhere. I actually feel ridiculous writing these things out, but that is how I felt.

Over time, the anxiety eases. Talking to people about the thoughts and feelings lightens the load. Trying to think about situations rationally helps me to set things straight. Don't get me wrong, my first week back at work was incredibly hard. I felt so out of my depth and the anxiety started to rear it's ugly head again. For me, it passes. I am one of the lucky ones who can still live a regular day to day life.

So many people battle mental health problems and you would have no idea. There is still a stigma attached to it all. World mental health day is so important, we need to challenge the stereotype of what someone with 'mental health problems' looks like and acts like. It's time to talk and time to change."