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Don’t bottle up your feelings and talk about your mental health at work

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A national awareness campaign will shine a light on how people can encourage good mental health in the workplace and how to support staff wellbeing by addressing problems as they emerge.

The theme of this year’s World Mental Health Day (10 October) is mental health in the workplace. Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (LPFT) is promoting the importance of talking about mental health at work and giving it the same attention as physical health. The day provides an opportunity for us all to focus on wellbeing at work and what more needs to be done to tackle the stigma around seeking support for mental health problems.

Dr John Brewin, LPFT Chief Executive, has seen some changes in attitudes towards mental health in recent years but says there is still a lot that can be done to change common misconceptions.

This October LPFT is celebrating its 10th anniversary as a foundation trust and certainly over the last 10 years mental health has gained national attention with many celebrities, politicians, sports people and even the royal family talking openly about their mental health problems. However, not many people would be prepared to talk to their employers or work colleagues and admit that they’re struggling with depression, anxiety or stress in the same way they would talk about having a physical health problem.

said Dr Brewin.

Research shows that less than a half of employees would feel able to talk openly with their line manager if they were suffering from stress. World Mental Health Day reminds us that we can all play our part in encouraging good mental health in the workplace. It’s not about becoming an expert but it’s about spotting the signs that your colleague is struggling and simply talking to them.

We spend a large proportion of our adult life at work so it can have a significant impact on our mental health. Promoting mental wellbeing improves productivity of employees and reduces staff turnover and sickness absence – it benefits staff, managers and the businesses themselves. Many patients with mental health problems want to be at work, and they value the part it plays in their lives, so it’s important to be able to have an open conversation about it.

Dr Dave Baker, GP and Acting Chair, South West Lincolnshire CCG, encourages anyone suffering from mental ill health to talk to their GP.

Mental health problems are quite common and one in five people take a day off work due to stress. Seeking help and having that initial conversation can be a really important step towards getting better.

People often forget that their GP is here to advise on both physical and mental health. A GP can offer you support and treatment as well as refer to specialist mental health services. If you’re feeling sad after a bereavement or feeling stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed with everyday life, talking to your GP or a mental health professional about your feelings can be a big help.

To mark World Mental Health Day, LPFT has joined forces with our partner organisations to raise awareness of the importance of looking after your mental health. Projects funded by Mental Health Promotion Fund will be offering a wide range of activities and groups that people with mental health problems or dementia can get involved in from October onwards. Details about all of the activities and groups are available on the Trust’s website www.lpft.nhs.uk/MCN or by following the hashtag #LincsMHnetwork on Twitter and Facebook. We will be also running market stalls awareness events around the county featuring our services, which anyone can attend.

Some of the events taking place

Boston

  • Open day and free session at The Askerfield Project – access to animals, horticulture, traditional skills and crafts in stress-free, caring and flexible environment. 10 October 2017, 10.00-16.00 at The Askefield Project, Peter’s Eden Farm, Howgarth Lane, Friskney PE22 8PQ, www.askefield.co.uk  

Grantham

  • LPFT Community Mental Health Team, information stand about mental health services. 10 October 2017, 13.00-14.00 at Grantham Library Isaac Newton Centre, Grantham NG31 6EE

Lincoln

  • World Mental Health Day Music Festival. A celebration including music, poetry and information stands from LPFT Recovery College and other services. Free event organised by P3. 10 October 18.00 – 22.00, Lincoln Drill Hall. To book tickets please contact Lincoln Drill Hall, Freeschool Lane, Lincoln LN2 1EY or go to www.lincolndrillhall.com/shows/world-mental-health-day-music-festival 

Louth

  • LPFT’s steps2change team, information stand about mental health services. 10 October 2017, 10.00-12.00. Meridian Leisure Centre, Wood Lane, Louth LN11 8RS

Sleaford

  • Positive mental health in the workplace event, 10 October 2017, 10.00-16.00 at The Sleaford Foyer, 81 Eastgate, Sleaford, NG34 7EA. Event supported by LPFT Community Mental Health Team. For more information contact Jo Karaman on 01529 415318. Download the poster here.