You may be tempted to pass over reading this but please don’t. We hear so much about “Mental Health” these days, no doubt exacerbated by CV19, but much of that is simply passed over and doesn’t register to us in the way it should. At PCC this is an issue we take very seriously. We all encounter people in our daily life with mental health issues. Sometimes we only realise afterwards that we acted in a negative way or at the very least we did not take advantage to help and missed an opportunity.

A few facts. The anti-depressants prescribed in England the last decade has doubled from 31 million to 64.7 million. In the year 2018 stress/depression cost 15.4 million lost working days in Great Britain, that’s a lot of people suffering.

Whether this is solely due to Mental health issues increasing or partly due to our increasing ability to identify them it is a debate we leave to the experts. There is however something we can all do to help society adapt and move towards a better understanding and that is read learn and act. In March this year we signed all our customer facing staff to attend an accredited, training course in Bradford on just this subject. Our aim is to enable us to handle situations better in the future. We learned, among other things, that words we use in daily life need to be chosen with much more care. For instance, never describe an angry person as a “psychopath”. One is suffering a deep seated complicated mental illness the other is simply angry the two are worlds apart and need to recognised as such. Don’t say “they are suffering from” or “they are a victim of”. Instead use the persons name and say “John has a history of” or “John is being treated for” It is important to personalise and to speak about the person rather than just the condition. We learned the ten commandments for how to speak about mental health. These are tiny steps in dealing with a huge and growing problem but the fact that we live in a civilised society makes these issues everybody’s responsibility.

At PCC we are about building relationships and delivering the best service we can in all aspects of our daily duties and the better we can do that better we feel. If you would like to focus a little more on these issues, to get you started, we would be happy to forward a link to a booklet we found very helpful “First Aid for Mental Health”.