Don't be afraid to talk about mental health

02 May 2019

Hollie Yates, Cambridge branch and Secretary of the Young Members' Representative Committee, talks about mental health in the workplace


In recent years there has been a transformation in the way we talk about and recognise mental health. With one in four people experiencing a mental health problem each year, a continued change is vital to end the stigma surrounding the issue.


During 2017 there were 5,821 suicides in the UK. This highlights that more needs to be done to spread awareness and educate as many people as possible so we can all become part of the solution.


At the end of 2018 we were invited to attend a mental health awareness training course at ASLEF head office. The course covered the signs and symptoms of mental health conditions and the ways in which we can assist those who are struggling. It was a fantastic day, which was well received by all who attended.


It can be incredibly hard to start a mental health conversation or ask a colleague 'How are you doing?' You may be concerned at their reaction or wonder if it will be awkward, but by thinking about what you want to say, finding the right time and the right place, using positive body language and listening skills, these conversations can be made a lot easier.


You shouldn't be afraid to talk about mental health.


It's important to recognise that the life of a train driver leaves us susceptible to mental ill health. More than 60% of employees with a mental health issue say work is a contributing factor. Our shift work, workplace stresses and liestyles are all proven to contribute towards our mental health.


ASLEF is continuing to improve training and awareness in order to support those in the workplace, and has published a Mental Health at Work guide which can be accessed through local reps of the members' section of the ASLEF website.


The NHS and Mind suggest there are five steps to improve our mental health. If you give them a try you may feel happier, more positive and more able to get the most from life.


If you have any concerns about mental health or would like to find out more, visit the NHS website.



This article first appeared in the May 2019 issue of the ASLEF Journal.

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