This Is Me…This is Liverpool

City Council spearheads launch of city’s mental health awareness campaign

Challenge the stigma and don’t be afraid to talk about how you really feel.

This was the call to action to businesses, employers, workers and residents across Liverpool at the start of the city’s very own mental health awareness campaign.

Liverpool City Council has joined forces with a host of big name companies, including Barclays, Price Waterhouse Cooper (PWC) and Seddon Construction to launch the city’s own This Is Me mental awareness campaign.

The campaign focuses on good mental health and wellbeing within the workplace by helping employers to provide a platform for staff members who have experienced mental health problems to share their stories with others. ThIs Is Me also brings together expertise from mental health and support charities MIND and The Samaritans.

Liverpool Town Hall was the venue for the launch of This Is Me, which saw more than 100 delegates and invited guests turn out to show support for the campaign.

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson, who officially opened the event, said the council would play a leading role in promoting good mental health amongst its workforce.

Mayor Anderson said: “The real challenge is to change people’s perceptions and challenge the stigma that surrounds mental health wherever we find it.”

“The message is, if you are struggling with your mental health, it’s ok to talk to people. In the city council we will be setting up teams within the different departments who will be able to give support to anyone who has issues that they need to talk about. We are encouraging everyone to have a conversation about their mental health. I would urge everyone to speak to one of your colleagues and take the time to tell them how you feel today.”

The city council is hosting a special This Is Me page on its website where businesses can find out more and register to join the campaign.

According to mental health charity MIND, one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year.

The launch event heard real life testimonies from many professionals who have experienced various forms of mental health issues such as stress, anxiety and depression.

Leading the charge for Liverpool was Barclays North West Director of Transformation, Christine Meakin.

Mum of two Christine told the audience how she experienced ‘burnout’ in 2014.

“I never thought I’d be someone who’d suffer from anxiety or stress – I thought I was too strong,” said Christine. “I was pushing myself to be everything to everyone because I didn’t want to let people down,”

“I was in denial about how I felt, but I didn’t want people to see that I was struggling and I didn’t want to ask for help because I saw it as a sign of weakness.”

Christine told the audience how she eventually spoke to her employer about how she was feeling, which led to her taking five months off to recover.

She added: “What’s most important is that people are talking about mental health and that they don’t feel ashamed if they are struggling with it. If I’d known more about wellbeing when this happened I may not have reached the low that I did. I learned that stress is indiscriminate, it can happen to anyone and is not a sign of weakness. Taking the first step is hard, but once you’ve taken it you won’t look back. I felt like a weight had been lifted when I opened up.”

PHOTO – Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson with Christine Meakin at the launch of Liverpool’s This Is Me campaign.

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