Mental Health Awareness Week 2018 – Sheena Cumiskey. @cwpnhs

Last week was Mental Health Awareness Week, and this year’s theme was ‘Stress: are we coping?’. The campaign is a great opportunity to think about how we can all look at the causes of work-related stress and how we can help manage it in our daily lives. We, as health care professionals, encourage local people to consider how they can help themselves to reduce their stress levels, but quite often we don’t do this as well as we can.

According to the Mental Health Foundation, two thirds of us will experience a mental health problem in our lifetime, with stress being amongst the most common aspects. Although stress isn’t regarded as mental health problem by itself, without it people are less likely to experience depression and anxiety.

The NHS is a high pressure environment, and we work with the knowledge that the decisions we make can have a significant impact on the people we care for. An incredible 30 per cent of all sickness in the NHS is stress related, and we’re dedicated to reducing the impact it has on everyone’s lives.

We want to make sure our work environment creates and sustains a mentally healthy workplace where everyone feels valued and supported. The Workforce Wellbeing Service held a range of pop up events throughout the week to support everyone’s mental health. The team also gave out gym passes, pens, guides, leaflets, and wellbeing related information, and it doesn’t stop there.

If you’re feeling stressed our Workforce Wellbeing service is always available to staff who may require personal and confidential support, they can also help with nutrition, activity and fitness. It’s so important to look after your own wellbeing and the wellbeing of those that you care for.

I urge you not to ignore the signs of stress. Stress can be anything that makes you feel overwhelmed or unable to cope. In the UK alone, over a third of us feel stressed for at least one full day per week, and an astonishing 85% of us are experience stress regularly.

There are big projects happening all over CWP, all year round, and the board recognises all the hard work that ensures we continue to deliver safe and effective care. I want to thank everyone who comes into work and gives it their all day in, day out.  Just don’t forget to take step back and look at what you’re doing for your wellbeing and remember help is here if you need it.