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Civil Service

Mental Health Awareness Week 2021

Getting back to nature can do wonders for mental health

To mark Mental Health Awareness Week, Civil Service HR have relaunched their This Is Me campaign. It’s goal? They aim to foster a more inclusive workplace for people suffering mental ill-health.

Today marks the beginning of Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) - a week aimed at providing a valuable opportunity to talk openly about all aspects of mental health, with a specific focus on providing help and advice for those in need.

To coincide with this event, Civil Service HR has invited people across the Civil Service to film themselves sharing their personal stories about their own mental health and wellbeing. These have been compiled into our 2021 This Is Me film.

Personal and powerful

The film features colleagues of all grades opening up about their experiences. Personal and powerful, it shows our colleagues perseverance and adaptability - offering inspiration, as well as meaningful advice on what support is available in work.

I hope this film spreads the message that being open about mental ill health is nothing to be ashamed of, nor something to repress until the point where you’re collapsing underneath its weight. Being open with those around us can help you get the vital support you need, so you can thrive both at work and at home.

Get close up with nature 

The theme of this year's MHAW is nature. Getting out in the fresh air and enjoying nature has been a major coping strategy for many of us throughout the past year. Indeed, recent research has shown that having contact and interaction with nature can reduce feelings of isolation and protect our overall mental health.

Photography competition

To support this theme, our partners at the Civil Service Sports Council (CSSC) have launched a photography competition open to all civil servants. Simply take a picture connected to nature or green therapy and you could win a wellness package from CSSC.

More information on the competition and wellness packages, as well as other ways they can support your wellbeing, can be found on CSSC’s website.

This year's campaign could not come at a more appropriate time. With lockdown now slowly lifting, and the weather improving, it is the perfect time to get out into nature!

Daron Walker, Health and Wellbeing Champion for BEIS
Daron Walker, Health and Wellbeing Champion for BEIS

I hope this piece and the wider This is Me campaign goes some way to reassuring anyone who is struggling that they are not alone, and that it is nothing to be ashamed of.

And for loved ones or friends, I hope this piece and the film have provided some useful insights into mental ill health, and given you assurance and advice on how best to help.

I am proud that the Civil Service is taking part in the This is Me campaign and proud of the progress the organisation is making on mental health and wellbeing to build workplaces that are truly inclusive for all.

Together, we are pushing for a cultural change towards openness and honesty surrounding mental health and that can only be a boost for everyone. Thanks for reading.

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  1. Comment by Gavin Thomas posted on

    Thank you Daron Walker for promoting Mental Health Awareness Week, and for sharing with us the This is Me video.

    May I commend those colleagues who have shared their lived in experience in the video and for speaking so openly. I am sure that their comments would have struck a chord with many others. Especially, during the past twelve months and the pandemic.

    As a former Chair of the ex FCO Staff Association Wellbeing Network, I have seen a significant change in the landscape in terms of attitude and awareness concerning mental health.

    Fortunately, there no longer seems to be that same level of the stigma surrounding mental health that certainly existed six years ago. We are certainly seeing an increase in the messaging seeking to encourage everyone to talk about how they are truly feeling and that it is okay, not to be okay.

    Like you, I hope that Mental Health Awareness Week, and the This is Me campaign will inspire colleagues to take the opportunity to reach out to a family member, friend or colleague to make certain that they are keeping well and will make colleagues who may be struggling to feel empowered to speak up and reach out for help.