Staff from Renfrewshire Council’s waste services team are working to tackle the stigma around discussing men’s mental health.

To show their support for World Mental Health Day on Monday, October 10 a group of 32 workers took part in a series of workshops designed to encourage people to speak about their feelings and identify coping mechanisms for dealing with stress.

The sessions were led by the Council’s Waste Services Manager Jock Templeton, a qualified mental health first aider who was inspired to help others after losing a loved one.

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Jock said: “I’ve been a mental health first aider for around seven years now and I’m proud to have helped around 100 people inside and outside the workplace.

“When I lost my brother-in-law, I was struggling and sought out counselling to help me get through what was a difficult time so I know the difference that it can make for people.

“There is a stigma around mental health, particularly in men, so I think it is so important that we encourage people to talk to each other, to their colleagues and to professionals, as asking a simple, or a difficult, question really could be the difference in saving someone’s life.

“It was great to chat with fellow colleagues and pass on skills that they can take with them into the workplace and into their own lives, and I look forward to speaking to more of our teams in the future too.”

Renfrewshire Council workers will soon be provided high-vis uniforms which feature contact information for Breathing Space, the Samaritans or Recovery Across Mental Health (RAM) on the back.

The vests have been donated by PPE supplier Greenham as part of their support of World Mental Health Day.

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Breathing Space team members also visited the Underwood Road depot in Paisley this week to speak to staff and outline what support is available for them should they need it.

Tony McLaren, National Co-ordinator, for the service, said: “As it is World Mental Health Day, we are delighted to see the teams taking up this creative approach to supporting each other in the workplace.

“Healthy conversations about mental health can happen in all sorts of situations and it’s so important that people know they can open up when they are feeling down and be heard.”

Breathing Space is a free confidential phone and webchat service which launched in 2002 to “address serious concerns about the mental well-being of people in Scotland”.

For more information click here.

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