Promoting open conversations about mental health

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week (May 8 to 14, 2017). Here, Helen Gore, Head of Supported Housing, reflects on Riverside’s commitment to ending the stigma surrounding depression, anxiety and other conditions…

Helen Gore head of supported services

Riverside recognises that the often traumatic histories experienced by the vulnerable people in our services means many of them will face some kind of mental health difficulty. This could be a long-term diagnosed condition or it could be a temporary or recurring condition such as anxiety, depression or panic attacks, which for many can be incredibly debilitating.

Creating time and space to focus on personal wellbeing and manage stress is important for a healthy mind. Doing this also reduces the likelihood of mental ill-health arising, increasing or resurfacing in the future.

To support this approach, we have developed an ‘Introduction to Mindfulness’ programme that enables people to learn some key relaxation techniques. It also teaches those taking part how to recognise and change automatic or negative thinking, as well as reduce stress and anxiety in their day-to-day lives.

This module is one of a range of support materials we have developed. It will be delivered to the many different customer groups we work with, from homeless people to young families, as well as in those Riverside services which are dedicated to mental health.

Launching this new module is particularly timely in Mental Health Awareness Week. It also reinforces Riverside’s commitment to , with the ultimate aim of increasing awareness and ending discrimination.

We’re not just focused on supporting our customers, but our colleagues too. Riverside recently signed up to the Time to Change Employer Pledge, which aims to end mental health stigma in the workplace. You can find out more about that – and the recruitment of mental health champions – in this Blog.