I’ve slipped out of the blogging habit of late, and I’m going to try and put that right. There are numerous reasons (or excuses), but the bottom line is that it’s all about time – and I’m going to try and make some more time for blogging as part of my working week. I won’t make the mistake of promising to blog every week, but I will promise to get back in the habit.
Why now? Well, to be very honest I’ve been asked by our Occupational Health Team if I could write something in support of Time to Talk Day on 2 February 2017. I’ve spoken to a good number of people, more than you may imagine, about mental health since I blogged about it a while ago, and it seems that the opportunity to have those conversations is in part to be down to the fact that by me writing about it a positive thing happened for some people that helped them to talk about the mental health issues that they were facing. I say that not, in any way to seek credit, but to share my experience and to hopefully help others to talk about mental health more openly. If that changes things for one person then it’s all been worth it.
Time to Talk day is all about helping people to have those conversations. It is about helping people deal with the feelings that they may experience such as isolation, a sense of worthlessness or feeling ashamed. I’m fortunate in never having experienced these feelings to such a degree, but let none of us ever be complacent about such things – one day it could be you, or me.
Speaking to people who have been through their own mental health challenge reinforces the fact that having that first conversation and asking for help is a massive hurdle that everyone has to overcome before they start on the road to recovery. My plea to everyone who reads this blog is to take the time to read a bit, or watch a video if you prefer, and prepare yourself to help someone to have their conversation with you. It’s not about becoming an expert, its simply about listening and helping someone to make the next step.
There are LOADS of fantastic resources out there – just put ‘Time to Change’ or ‘Mind Blue Light’ into your browser search. There are more out there now that specifically address the issues being faced by blue light workers – I make no apology for giving them prominence. WYFRS employees can also use our Employee Assistance Programme – access details are available on WY Firespace or on posters around your workplace.
The image that accompanies this blog is of my hand, and I’m wearing a wristband to promote #thisismyhand – set up by emergency service workers to support emergency service workers. It’s a hand of support, a welcoming hand, and one that is there to help.
Please share the blog, have a conversation with your team about it, read some of the supporting information, in fact doing anything – but please do something!