This feature was contributed by Kerry North, Senior Community Manager at O2
It’s not every day that the Leader of the Opposition pops by your office– but yesterday Jeremy Corbyn visited O2’s HQ in Slough to talk about mental health.
O2 have put mental health on the agenda, putting it on the agenda of the board, supporting workplace mental health champions, and raising awareness to get conversations started.
Mental illness is high on Jeremey Corbyn’s agenda, and something he is clearly passionate about. He took the train out to Slough with Luciana Berger MP, the Shadow Mental Health Minister, to meet some of the people having conversations about mental health.
From talking with Jeremy, he understands that the pressures on young people, from unemployment, short term or zero hours contracts, the struggles and expense of renting a room, to lower benefits, can all contribute to depression.
He was genuinely passionate that people should not suffer in silence or keep up a front or bravado – we should be able to talk about mental health.
“We’ve got to be open with each other and support each other”
He was also keen that employers have a role to play in making time to talk about mental health. And whilst providing access to phone help, online wellbeing support and professional therapists is important, in reality we can all support each other by talking and listening.
Jeremy recalled a friend committing suicide and a stranger jumping out of a moving train from his past, with an air of regret that he hadn’t talked to them about how they were feeling. Both instances clearly drive his passion to remove the stigma attached to mental health and to get people talking.
So if you are suffering, don’t do it alone. There are resources online to help, including ‘Worried about your mental health’, but also friends, family and colleagues that can listen. Make sure you find the #TimeToTalk.
Mental health problems affect 1 in 4 people every year, yet too often people are afraid to talk about their experiences because they fear it will affect their jobs or relationships. Time to Talk Day (4th February) aimed to get the nation talking about mental health to help end the misconceptions around it. It is organised by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, the people behind Time to Change.
And finally, as it is also National Voters Registration Drive week, we asked him why young people should vote: “If you want proper housing, proper education and proper healthcare, you’ve got to be prepared to vote for it”.
So make sure you are registered to vote – it is your opportunity to influence the future of the UK and what matters to you.
If you were interested in this…