Real Life Story: Supporting mental health issues in the workplace

The statistics are quite shocking.

1 in 4 people in the workplace suffer from mental health issues at any one time.

On top of that, a recent report showed that UK workers are taking nearly four days off a year on average for mental health reasons, but more than half who do report the cause as physical illness. People are too scared to share what is really going on.

Here are Gregor Heating, we believe that people should not suffer alone and that employers everywhere have a responsibility to their employees to do what they can to help them.  

This is why as a company we have chosen to support MIND, the mental health charity, as our charity of the year for 2019/20.

George Bloor, 24 (pictured) is one of Gregor’s apprentice success stories. He worked with us for four years and qualified in 2018 as a gas safe engineer.  George is now taking a career break and currently travelling around Australia, however he kindly agreed to share his story about how suffering from post-traumatic stress affected him and how the help he received allowed him to get back on the right track.

One day in March 2017, George’s life completely changed when he was caught in the middle of the Westminster Bridge attack which saw over 50 people injured and four people killed.

He says:

“I have lived quite a sheltered life and not had to cope with too many stresses and strains so when I was caught up in a terrorist attack, in the days and weeks afterwards I just thought I could deal with it.

 “Guilty of burying my head in the sand, I tried to keep my head down avoiding any talk of what had happened assuming it would all just go away. But then I started feeling swamped. I was not sleeping, I was tired, I couldn’t leave the house. I found every excuse in the book I could to not to come to work. I realise how ill I had become.

 “It took the kindness and compassion of my bosses to make me finally see sense. They called me in and asked me what they could do to help, that it was clear I was struggling and whatever help I needed was there. My family love me unconditionally but they were too close. Whatever they tried to say or do feel on deaf ears but having my boss show compassion and concern finally made me realise the mess I was in. 

 “With Gregor’s support, slowly I managed to get my life back. Working part time hours, I went to see a doctor and found someone to talk to, to realise I did not need to go through this on my own that I could open up allowed me to process the thoughts and feelings I had.

 “I have always wanted to travel so one of the decisions I made once I started to get back on my feet was to do just that. I genuinely believe I would not have got here without the kindness and support show by the company. There were no expectations, no pressure, just support and gentle encouragement. I have had the best time working here, learned so much about work and life and will always be grateful for the opportunities I’ve had I could not have wished to have worked for a better company. I start a new chapter of my life with new hope ahead.

 “For anyone struggling, no matter how hard, the support is there. I’m an example of that. Please don’t feel you need to struggle alone. What I have learned is that you just need to reach out – you will find that someone is always willing to listen.”

Thanks again to George for sharing his story.

MIND have lots of useful resources available. For more information visit www.mind.org.uk

 

George Bloor, gas engineer