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  • Writer's pictureGraham Rawlings

The Importance of Mental Health & Employee Support.

If someone had told me in 2016 that I would have mental health struggles two years later in 2018, I would not have believed it. Still, the truth is I was there in 2013, but by 2016 I was on top of the world and couldn't foresee that changing.

I had found the love of my life, proposed and were planning our wedding for the following year. This may seem quick, but we had fortunately known each other for many years beforehand, and our fairytale had begun!

In 2018 we were expecting our firstborn, and all was going amazingly well. Twenty-seven weeks in, however, our world crashed; we received the news that our beautiful boy had medical complications and would not survive.

On the 14th of July 2018, our baby boy was born sleeping, and he was beautiful. We named him, spent the night with him and the shock of the situation slowly set in. Our baby was gone, and we were left heartbroken due to a medical condition that affects approximately 1 in 5000 babies. All we could ask ourselves was, How could this happen?

Not long after this, I returned to work believing that I was ready; of course, I wasn't, and a few weeks later, I suffered a breakdown. Nothing could have prepared me for this; life is sometimes cruel, and I found myself in a place I never thought I would return to. I took it upon myself to seek help and support to navigate what had become a dark place in my mind. I won't go into all the details. Still, over time I took care of myself, my wife and I became stronger than ever imagined, and we now have a beautiful 2-year-old son. We celebrate his big brother at every given opportunity and talk about him all the time, and there isn't a day that goes by when we don't think about him.

I'm telling my story because I've always found it an essential part of my recovery to talk about our situation openly. I would also hope it goes some way to highlight the importance of mental health awareness, especially in the workplace. I was fortunate enough to get a lot of support from my employer. Still, many don't, and that isn't necessarily something that is their fault.

Sometimes, they are just not given the tools to approach it.

The fact remains that men in the UK are three times more likely to die by suicide than women. However, in construction – a male-dominated industry – men are three times more likely to die by suicide than the national average for men.

Recently my colleague Sam went to a Kent Invicta Chamber Of Commerce meet and was introduced to Aquarius Mental Health Solutions.

They are Mental Health Advisors, Instructors & Assessors who specialise in Mental Health Awareness & Training in educational settings, the workplace, and the sporting environment. This struck a chord with me instantly, as wherever possible, I will advocate the importance of support for anyone struggling or in need.

Aquarius Mental Health Solutions will visit your workplace and advise your Health & Safety Officer and/or HR or Management Team as to how to understand the facts behind Mental Health and the effects on the cost of attendance, performance and productivity in the workplace, and to advise on creating a mentally healthy working environment.

I urge any company in South East England and West Midlands that feel they could improve in this area to contact Aquarius to assist you.

Mental health awareness has never been more prevalent than it is right now. Let us all continue to highlight the importance, keep talking, check on each other and recognise a call for help.

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