Mental health awareness week 2020

Thursday, 21 May 2020
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To mark mental health awareness week, we spoke to IT apprentice, Mia, on her own story with mental health and this is what she had to say...

"Poor mental health is something which many of us face at least one time in our life, despite any differences in our lifestyle. We are only human, and it is totally normal to experience and go through times of lower mental health. Please do not think any less of yourself or portray yourself as weak because you are struggling. It is important that we share our feelings with others and reach out to the support which companies, charities and our friends and family offer. The only way to tackle poor mental health is by being open as possible and working together.

Throughout my life so far, I have been through some very difficult times due to poor mental health and I would never wish for anyone to ever have to go through this, but I am pleased to say that I have now got through those complicated times and bounced back, feeling better than ever. Of course, we all have our ‘off’ days and that’s totally okay, no-one expects us to be happy 100% of the time, but for most of the time I am doing well and very satisfied with my life.

I would not be where I am today or achieved any of the things I have, without the support of those around me. This includes family, friends and most recently, the workplace. I work in the IT department and am part of a very supportive team, which I love being part of. I am pleased to say, since working at West Midlands Railway, I have not yet had any setbacks with my mental health, and I think this is due to the ongoing support of my peers. I find that the IT team are very open to discussing matters, whether it be work-related, leisure or personal and the dynamics of working together just seems to work. The workplace has done things which have reduced my anxiety or prevented me from getting to the stage of my mental health being impacted, this includes effective communication, teamwork and structure throughout the workday. All of these simple, yet effective measures are a great way of helping those who struggle with their mental health.

Just a quick reminder, it is important to take care of your mental health, just as much as your physical health! The combination of both will result in you becoming a stronger person, and please, if you are struggling, do not suffer in silence because over the years I have learnt that mental health can quickly spiral out of control and before you realise, you are in a more difficult situation. I promise that people are there to listen to you and will want to help you, but the first stage to recover is speaking up, this takes a lot of courage and people will praise/admire you for this. Stay well during these difficult times."

If you would like more advice on mental health, including tips and tools to help you and others cope, Samaritans can help. As Mia said, do not suffer in silence, people are there to listen. Take care.