As this week is mental health week we took the time to talk to Wayne, one of our disability officers. Wayne has many insights into depression and anxiety, as you can see from his statement below:

Today I would like to talk about mental health. Mental health is a hidden disability, a disability that you can’t see. Whilst you walk down the street, sit in a pub, ride a train or bus you are surrounded by people, it is difficult to know who might have a mental health condition and if they are suffering.

Depression is the hardest condition to face. It can come from the loss of a loved one, a relationship break up, loss of a job, you may feel the world is against you. It does not matter what age, race or religion you have you could still suffer, depression does not discriminate. Feelings of unhappiness and hopelessness, feeling anxious and tearful, depression can affect us all. Also, there is bipolar when you can have a change of mood swings that you can be happy one minute and then be very low the next. depression can take many forms.

Over the recent pandemic mental health has sadly grown. There has been more anxiety, the constant worry about losing loved ones, about being safe when going out to work or just to do some shopping. Even children have suffered with not seeing school friends or other family members. The pandemic has brought to light the issues that being confined to a space either alone or with the same few people can have.

Around 10 years ago my mental health started. It started with the anxiety travelling to work, I was petrified that my tube train would be late and as such, I would become late for work. It was horrible and I had no option to resign from the greatest job I ever had as it was not doing my health any good. I struggled with thoughts of self harm on my last day because of the attachment that I had to the job.

I find the way forward is to talk about mental health, to speak out about issues that are on your mind, talk to your friends and never hold back. Of course visit your GP and ask for help, they have a wealth of knowledge on the subject. There are many organisations around the country that can help.

Currently for my mental health I am involved with a charity, volunteering for community 360. Community 360 is a great organisation the supports the community in Colchester. It has community transport, support with counselling services, befriending calls and working with partners. There are so many family activities with sport from Colchester United Football Club and with family meals to those who need that extra support. Recently community 360 have been supporting the NHS in the vaccine program also! Some of these I have been involved in, it helps your mental health to be involved, but also they are there to help you too. It’s great to meet people and make new friends along the way, and I have to say that working in the community is now my happy place.

Mental health is very important and we need to keep the awareness. We need to campaign more and make it law that companies must be aware of the signs and support its staff. We need more and more support for our loved ones and friends, as you do not know who might be suffering. The labour party has been working on mental health for a very long time, and we still are. As joint disability officer I want to hear your voice, and I want your voice to be heard.

Thank you for reading and for your interest.

Wayne Tearle

Disability Officer

Colchester CLP

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