UNISON Cymru/Wales is celebrating its first mental health champions today, as part of the union’s pioneering work on mental health in the workplace.
Seven lay members have now become mental health champions after completing a two-day training course run by the union.
They were joined by regional secretary Margaret Thomas and lead organiser for mental health Carmen Bezzina as they received their certificates (pictured).
Their role will be to help colleagues suffering with stress, anxiety or depression, by directing them to the best available advice and support.
One in four people in the UK suffers with mental health-related problems – many caused by difficult situations in the workplace.
The UK government’s cuts, for instance, have increased stress associated with job insecurity and the pressure of being forced to do a lot more work with fewer resources.
UNISON is also campaigning for mental health to be given equal status with other health and community services, and has called for the next Welsh government to appoint a minister for mental health.
Ms Bezzina said: “A union providing crucial support to people at work in this way is something ground-breaking.
“We are passionate about ensuring people know how to access the best mental health services for them and I am proud that UNISON Cymru/Wales is taking a lead here.”
UNISON will be organising further two-day mental health awareness courses in north and south Wales in September. Following that, another two days training is required to become a mental health champion.
All members are encouraged to take part in the awareness training and should contact Ms Bezzina for further information at firstname.lastname@example.org.