Our mental health open day

To mark Mental Health Awareness Week, a mental health open day was held at the Tata Port Talbot site. I was privileged to be part of the organising group for the event showing a joint partnership and investment in something that affects so many people and workers.

The day had many local charities such as Age Cymru, Maggies, Mental Health Foundation present, talking about the services that they could offer as well as mindfulness workshops running all day long. We were present to inform workers of the support and learning that they can provide.

This day was just one way we have helped Tata with breaking the stigma around mental health. Another has been the implementation of a Mental Health and Wellbeing policy developed in partnership with the trade unions to ensure the safety and protection of our members onsite, which was proudly put on display at the event.

Susan Martin, Trainer for Leadership and Management and Mental Health First Aider, says:

“It was a tremendous success as a live event and online, too. Thanks goes out to all those involved in setting the event up, funding the merchandise such as the t-shirts, donating cakes, presenting certificates to the MHFA people and a big thanks to the various charities that took time out to come and support us, our employees and contractor partners. I am also pleased that so many of our workers made time to join in, showing that we are starting to break the stigma that can surround the topic. Thanks to Community union for their support and also donating stress balls and goody bags.

Of course, just as safety is not a topic for a single day, nor is health and wellbeing – it should be a part of our everyday considerations and conversations. If our team isn’t a healthy team, our business can’t be a healthy business. Given that mental health has become the primary reason some employees are unable to come to work, it is our duty not only to make provisions to support individuals in whatever way we can, but more so to create a working environment that is supportive, engaging and rewarding.”

This is the first time since the Covid-19 outbreak began that the WULF project was able to get back doing what it does best: engaging with workers and members, increasing awareness and learning opportunities and award those who have taken the steps to complete a qualification.

Many Mental Health First Aid courses have been organised and funded through the WULF projects onsite, with a strong network of over 200 Mental Health first aiders across the Welsh sites. I was delighted to witness several of our learners receive their certificates being presented by managers; Martin Brunnock, Director of Communications and Public Affairs and Gareth Griffiths, HRP Works Manager. It is exciting to see how many people want to increase their knowledge in such topic and really help the people around them. We are hoping this becomes a regular event for the Tata sites in Wales and will happily get involved.

Adrian Morgan, Chairman of the multi-union ULR forum and Mental Health First Aider, volunteered to help with event and later said:

“The open day was a great success and hopefully help break the stigma of mental health in the workplace. On a personal note, it was rewarding to see the mental health first aiders receive their certificates for the hard work undertaken in their training. All this wouldn’t be possible without the ULR reps and WULF funding”.

If you are a member of Community and need help or advice, please contact us at help@community-tu.org or on 0800 389 6332.

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