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The charity is adapting its support service to help industry members through this pandemic. We are providing regular updates for the industry and offering lots of useful information, advice and support links on issues that may be affecting you or your family members during COVID-19 such as: 

Practical Support - Reducing personal debt, helpful advice for those who are worried about their and the person that they care for safety - Salary and more.

Employed and Self-employed support - Help and Guidance for employers who are looking to furlough employees or struggling with Covid-19 generally and more.

Mental Health support - Feeling the pressure to be productive? A useful toolkit to support your mental health during the pandemic, how to protect your mental health during the pandemic and more.

Housing support - The welfare team are supporting renters who need to write to their landlords in support for rent holidays and more.

Welfare benefit Support - If you are self-employed or lost your job because of COVID-19 consider applying for universal credit? And more.

Legal support – Advice for employees requiring legal support during the pandemic and more.

Self-Isolation - Guide for social distancing and more.

For all this information and more please visit our COVID-19 regular updates website page at the link below:

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May 2020 Header

Feel like you cannot face the day and don’t want to get out of bed? This month we discuss common mental health issues such as depression, stress, anxiety, lack of self-confidence and the feeling of being overwhelmed around national mental health awareness week. We have supported a huge number of people who have reported struggling with mental health issues. Take a look at our advice and support.

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coronavirus information
Mental health tips

How we can manage our mental health and wellbeing. 

While working

Tips for employers and employees to look after their mental health.

Look after your mental health and wellbeing when staying at home

Tips on looking after yourself when staying at home during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Living with the pandemic if you already have mental health problems

The COVID-19 epidemic may be especially challenging for those of us with mental health problems – wherever we are on that journey.

Nurturing our relationships during the Coronavirus pandemic

Tips on looking after your relationships during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Random acts of kindness during the Coronavirus outbreak

Learn how kind acts can help you and others during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Finance, housing and unemployment worries

Help available during this time.

Talking to your children about the Coronavirus pandemic

Read about speaking to your children about the Coronavirus outbreak.

Mental health advice for older people during the Coronavirus outbreak

Learn how to look after your mental health during the Coronavirus outbreak if you are over 55.

Staying at home and abusive relationships

Looking after yourself while in an abusive home environment during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Beyond panic buying

Why do we panic buy? What are the alternatives?

May 2020 Header 1 easter lockdown

We may never forget the coronavirus lockdown. But are we still going to be talking to each other at the end of it?
Is it going to leave us seething with irritability or bring us serenely closer than ever before? "We've never lived through something like this," says Prof Gabb. Most of the usual emotional pressure-cooker points - like being cooped up together at Christmas or going on a family holiday - have clearly defined exit points.

Is it going to leave us seething with irritability or bring us serenely closer than ever before? "We've never lived through something like this," says Prof Gabb. Most of the usual emotional pressure-cooker points - like being cooped up together at Christmas or going on a family holiday - have clearly defined exit points.

But not with the coronavirus lockdown. "There are no certainties anymore," she says. But there are all the ingredients for stress on relationships, she says. There are worries about jobs and money, not enough personal space, lack of childcare, not being able to do the things you enjoy, not seeing friends and the anxieties caused by the virus outbreak.

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The parent
"I am a single parent who is a key worker. I can work from home but am finding it impossible with my six and 10-year-old at home. Work have said I can drop my hours but will lose the pay which I can't afford. My son has immune difficulties so cannot send him to school and we live with my 84-year-old mother. Feel really stuck!" Shelley-Ann on workingmums.co.uk

"Lack of freedoms will be felt differently," says Dr Caroline Schuster, a psychologist who has worked with families in Dorset and Wiltshire.

She says people might be feeling a "lack of privacy, boredom and isolation, even in a family".
"For all of us, kids included, there is a loss of the old way of life."

Both experts are concerned about an increase in domestic violence from the lockdown. Figures from the National Domestic Abuse helpline show a 25% increase in calls for help since the lockdown began.

We've also entered a strange new digital existence, with many working and socialising online. But Prof Gabb warns that self-broadcasting on social media during the lockdown can put even more psychological pressure on families. Particularly if the smugness levels get too high. "Not everyone is at home in their giant kitchen. Other people are struggling to feed their kids and are going stir-crazy," she says.

The teenager
"My parents are so annoying. I'll come downstairs and say, 'Good morning', and they'll reply, 'Good AFTERNOON'. It's like, OK, I'm a bum, I get it." From "annoying parents" on Twitter.

The story of the lockdown is being seen through the eyes of the haves, rather than the have-nots, says Prof Gabb. "It's not as easy as just putting on an exercise video and bonding with each other," she says. Her concerns are echoed by research from Save the Children, with the charity finding the biggest worries for parents in the lockdown are getting enough food, helping children with schoolwork and concerns about money.

Children are worried about someone in their family getting sick, food shortages and not seeing friends. The loss of control over much of our everyday lives is stoking the domestic tensions. For adults used to being independent "it's quite infantilising", says Prof Gabb. "A sense of control is incredibly important for humans," says Dr Punit Shah, a psychologist at the University of Bath. When we feel we have no control we feel stressed - and he says there are all kinds of "coping mechanisms" appearing. People might take a sudden interest in exercise or focus on cleaning their house or working on the garden, giving them a sense of control over something.

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The head teacher
"It is absolutely not possible to facilitate distance-learning with a primary-aged child and work from home at the same time. The very idea is nonsense. If you're trying to do that, stop now. You can certainly have activities where your child learns, but your focus is your job, and survival. Stop trying to be superheroes." Joseph Hellett to parents in Hastings.

But Dr Shah says we should be more upbeat about what might emerge from this enforced confinement - and to "give ourselves more credit" for how we're adapting.
There could be an "identity shift" within families, as parents and children get to know each other better, says the psychologist. "We shouldn't assume it will be negative and problematic," he says. Dr Shah says we're still finding out during this experience what helps us feel better. It might be a case of fear and clothing in the lockdown. Because in his case, Dr Shah says he feels more comfortable wearing smart working clothes when he is working from home, even if it surprises everyone else on the video conference.

One of the most visible tactics for stressbusting seems to be the family pet. When you go outside everyone who isn't jogging seems to be walking a dog. "There are really positive benefits," says Prof Gabb. Pets are particularly important for people living on their own, a group she thinks are not being adequately acknowledged during the lockdown. All that energy is now in lockdown inside the home. Walking a dog might also make people feel more justified in being outside - and Dr Shah says our behaviour is being heavily influenced by "social pressure".

This includes parents feeling made to feel guilty about not having turned overnight into an accomplished teacher for their stay-at-home children. But there are soothing words for anyone already suffering from laptop neck or Zoom ache. A primary school head teacher in Hastings sent a message telling parents "not to stress or feel guilty" during these strange weeks. "Stop trying to be superheroes," he told them.

more about corona

a guide to better sleep


Who are we, and how can we help?
Sleepstation is an NHS accredited sleep improvement programme. Our service is delivered entirely online. We have a secure online messaging service that we use to discuss problems in a safe and confidential way. Our online service is just as effective as clinic-based services, sometimes even more effective.

In addition to our work with the NHS, we work with benevolent funds and employers across the world to make our services available for their communities.

We normally help people with long-term (chronic) sleep problems. Sleep problems can become chronic when they aren't addressed quickly enough. We hope to be able to reduce the number of people coming out of this crisis with chronic sleep problems by acting quickly and providing them with the support that they need to sleep better.

If you were sleeping well before this crisis, but are struggling with sleep now, what you're experiencing is a normal reaction to what's happening, and your sleep could be fixed fairly easily.

During this difficult time, it’s perfectly natural to feel anxious. We’re in a scary situation. It's hard to sleep when we're anxious and this is quite normal. If there is something to worry about, it makes much more sense for us to be awake so that we can respond to the problem. This is a natural, protective response. We remain alert when we feel under threat, to protect us from danger. It wouldn't, for example, make sense to be asleep if there was a wolf in our bedroom.

However, COVID-19 isn't a wolf that could creep up on us in the night, and being awake isn't going to help us fight it. In fact, losing sleep is probably going to have the opposite effect. If you're struggling to sleep at the moment, the advice in this guide can help you sleep better.

Download our guide to better sleep here

better sleep

depression banner

This section might be useful to you if you have depression or if you think you might have depression. It explains the causes, symptoms and treatments of depression. It may also help you if you’re a carer, friend or relative of someone with depression.


  • Some signs of depression are feeling low, feeling bad about yourself and not wanting to do things.
  • Depression affects different people in different ways.
  • If you think you might have depression you can speak to your GP.
  • Depression may be treated with medication and talking treatments. Self-help techniques, peer support groups and coping strategies also help.
  • Different things can lead to depression. Your upbringing, stressful events and your lifestyle might all have an effect.
  • If you feel low, getting enough sleep and eating healthy foods might help. It might also help to keep active, even if you don’t feel like it.

What is depression?
Everyone has ups and downs. Sometimes you might feel a bit low, for lots of different reasons. People may say that they are feeling depressed when they are feeling down, but this does not always mean that they have depression.

Depression is a long-lasting low mood disorder. It affects your ability to do everyday things, feel pleasure or take interest in activities.

Download Depression Factsheet

Depression is:depression2

  • a mental illness that is recognised around the world,
  • common - it affects about one in ten of us,
  • something that anyone can get, and
  • treatable.

Depression is not:

  • something you can 'snap out of’,
  • a sign of weakness,
  • something that everyone experiences, or
  • something that lasts forever as one episode.

Doctors might describe depression as 'mild', 'moderate' or 'severe'. Your doctor may offer you different treatments depending on how they describe it.

How common is depression?
Depression can affect people of any age, including children. It is one of the most common mental illnesses. The number of people who have depression may be higher than this because not everyone with depression goes to their GP.

What are the different types of depression?
You might have heard a number of terms used to describe depression. In this section, we explain what some of these terms mean.

Clinical depression - Clinical depression is a common term, but it is not a formal diagnosis. People sometimes say ‘clinical diagnosis’ to just mean they have been diagnosed by a doctor.

Depressive episode - Your doctor might say that you are going through a 'depressive episode'. This is the formal name that doctors give depression when they make a diagnosis. They may say that you are going through a 'mild', 'moderate' or 'severe' episode.

Recurrent depressive disorder - If you have had repeated episodes of depression, your doctor might say that you have recurrent depressive disorder. They may say that your current episode is 'mild', 'moderate' or 'severe'.

Reactive depression - If your doctor thinks that your episode of depression was caused by particular stressful events in your life, they may say that it is reactive. For example, divorce, job or money worries. This is sometimes separated from an adjustment disorder, where you may struggle with some symptoms of depression because of adapting to a major change in your life. Such as separation from people, retirement or migrating to a new area.

Severe depressive episode with psychotic symptoms - If you are going through a severe episode of depression, you may get hallucinations or delusions. A hallucination means you might hear, see, smell, taste or feel things that aren’t real. A delusion means that you might believe things that don’t match reality. These symptoms are called psychosis.

Dysthymia - Your doctor might diagnose you with dysthymia if you have felt low for several years, but the symptoms are not severe enough, or the episodes are not long enough for a doctor to diagnose recurrent depressive disorder.

Cyclothymia - Your doctor might diagnose cyclothymia if you struggle with persistently unstable moods. You might have several periods of depression and periods of mild elation. These periods of depression or elation are not severe enough or long enough to diagnose recurrent depression or bipolar disorder. It is a common illness which affects more than 1 in 10 women within 1 year of having a baby. You may get symptoms that are similar to those in other types of depression.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) - This type of depression affects you at the same time of year, usually in the winter. The symptoms are similar to depression, but some people find they sleep more rather than less, and crave carbohydrates like chocolate, cakes and bread.

Manic depression - Manic depression is the old name for bipolar disorder. It is a different illness to depression. People with this illness have highs (mania) and lows (depression).


You can learn to manage your symptoms by looking after yourself. Self-care is how you take care of your diet, exercise, daily routine, relationships and how you are feeling. You will learn how to notice when you are becoming unwell and know what your triggers are.

Your diet

Our diet affects our physical health. Depending on what you eat you could develop problems like obesity, heart disease and diabetes. In the same way, the things we eat may affect our moods and mental health.

Some people deal with their depression by eating high-fat and high-sugar foods. Also, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) can make you crave sugary carbohydrates like cakes and biscuits.

To manage your diet, you can:exercise diet
• eat regular meals,
• avoid skipping meals,
• eat a healthy balance of fat and reduce the amount of trans-fat you eat,
• eat fruit, vegetables and wholegrains,
• eat oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring or trout,
• drink 6-8 glasses of water per day,
• limit your caffeine in drinks such as tea, coffee or fizzy drinks, and
• limit the amount of alcohol you drink.

The UK Chief Medical Officer recommends that to keep the risks from alcohol low, men and women should not regularly drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week.

If you have depression, making these changes may not have an instant impact on your mood. However, they can be important for long-term recovery.


Exercising regularly can help your mood. You can exercise any way you like, so long as it safely increases your heart rate and makes you breathe faster. Exercise can also help if you have problems sleeping. Getting proper sleep may be important for your mental health.

How much you can do depends on your age, physical health and fitness. If you do not exercise already, start with small amounts and fit this into your daily routine. You can then slowly increase the amount you do. This approach may help with your motivation.

There are programmes like the NHS’s Couch to 5KM where they gradually help you go from doing no exercise to walking or jogging for 5 kilometres.
Some other ideas are listed below:

• Going for a walk: You could get a pedometer or an app that counts your steps. Slowly challenge yourself to walk more steps and reach a goal.

• Cycling: Make sure you wear a helmet and high visibility vests or chest strap. Stick to quiet roads if you aren’t confident on a bike.

• Gardening: There may be a local NHS or charitable gardening scheme in your area. Ask your GP, volunteering services or social services.

• Projects: You can check your area on ‘The Conversation Volunteers’ website to see if there are any projects in your area.

• Jogging: Try jogging around the block to start with. Then slowly increase the amount of time you jog for, or the distance you go.

• Housework: Doing housework in an active way can be good exercise.

Read on here for more information

do you have depression

People with mild, low-grade depression may not even realize they are depressed. In fact, the chronic feelings of sadness and low mood they experience may have been around for so long that they feel normal.

However, it is not normal to go through life feeling unhappy all of the time. Everyone experiences occasional bouts of low mood in response to sad or stressful life events, but constantly feeling depressed does not have to be the story of your life.

Symptoms of Chronic Low-Grade Depression

Chronic low-grade depression is a symptom of persistent depressive disorder (PDD), formerly known as dysthymia or dysthymic disorder. The signs and symptoms of PDD are very similar to major depressive disorder, except that they tend to be milder and are chronic in nature.

Symptoms of PDD include:

  • Fatigue
  • Restlessness
  • Sleep problems
  • Changes in weight or appetite
  • Low energy and reduced motivation
  • Sadness, tearfulness, frequent crying
  • Feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, or guilt
  • Trouble concentrating, focusing, and making decisions
  • No longer enjoying things that used to bring pleasure
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

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As with major depressive disorder, persistent depressive disorder is also believed to be a multifactorial condition—meaning they are likely caused by a combination of genetic susceptibility, biochemical imbalance, life stress, and environmental circumstances.

In about three-quarters of patients with dysthymia, the primary cause of the disorder is not clear. But people with PDD tend to have other complicating factors, such as chronic illness, another psychiatric disorder, or substance use issues.

In these cases, it becomes very difficult to say whether the depression would exist independently of the other condition. In addition, these comorbid conditions often create a vicious cycle wherein each illness makes the other more difficult to treat.


There are also several self-care treatments that can help treat chronic mild depression. Here are a few suggestions to keep in mind:

  • Eat a varied and nutritious diet.
  • Avoid alcohol and illegal drugs.
  • Find things to do that you enjoy.
  • Get enough sleep and ensure you have a restful sleeping environment.
  • Aim for 30 minutes of moderately-intense exercise most days of the week, and add vigorous exercise if you are able to do so.
  • Seek out people for friends who are positive, supportive, and show that they care about you.
  • Be sure that you are taking your medications correctly. Tell your doctor about any supplements or herbal remedies you take.

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"I've had really bad experiences in the past with employers, I've even been 'let go' because I took time off for my mental health," says Steph. 

The 29-year-old says she worked at a number of retail and agency jobs, with most managers being far from understanding.

"I was always really anxious and uncomfortable asking for time off because of my mental health, to the point where I just went into work instead," Steph says.

Workers like Steph are not alone.

New research by Deloitte and the mental health charity Mind suggests that young people in the UK are more likely to use their holidays, instead of taking days off work, when experiencing poor mental health.

Top tips for employees on mental health

  • Make sure you take your full lunch break
  • Maintain clear boundaries between work and home - try not to check emails
  • Start a clear to-do list so you stay organised
  • Use time on your commute to wind down, by listening to music or reading
  • Ask for help if your workload is out of control

Between 2011 and 2015, more than 1,400 construction workers took their own lives, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The industry employs a high proportion of young men, who are statistically most at risk of dying by suicide.

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Continue reading here

unnplanned pregnancy

For some people, becoming parents is a simple, absolute yes, but for many, timing, situation and partner are just some of the reasons that becoming a parent isn't the right decision.

Unplanned pregnancy and termination can take a toll on a relationship. The surprise of an unplanned pregnancy or termination can demand that couples get serious about their collective and separate needs. Conversations can be difficult as discussions uncover a need for deep communication and the discovery of different agendas and coping strategies. It is not uncommon for a couple to have to deal with both a termination and a break-up at the same time.

This was sadly the case for James. James has been working as a self-employed electrical estimator for three years in which he works long hours, over seven days a week sometimes and rarely gets time to see friends, socialise and or have time to himself. He was in a complex long-distance relationship with a younger women who was a midwife and desperately wanted to have a baby.

To James and his partners delight, they did eventually fall pregnant, however the relationship had already started to strain by this point under the pressure and unfortunately the relationship had started to break down beyond repair, it was at this point that’s James’s partner decided to have a termination, but chose to lead James to believe she had miscarried.

A short time after their breakup, James felt he would like to try and make amends and repair the relationship after having gone through the trauma of a miscarriage. Unfortunately, James’s ex-partner did not feel the same way and was not open to reuniting, instead she was out with friends frequently and for weekends at a time. James also consequently found out that his ex-partner had not suffered a miscarriage as he was told but had taken the decision to terminate their child without discussing it with him first. James was distraught, confused, and distressed at the revelation.

A termination breeds anger, resentment, and bitterness toward the partner who was not supportive or who ignored their partner’s desire to keep the baby.

unplanned pregnancy

Mental illness knows no boundaries and can strike any of us at any time in many different forms, ranging from the worries we all experience as part of everyday life, to serious long-term conditions such as anxiety and depression. Helping people ease whatever troubles they may be going through can reduce the impact it has on the person and their friends and family.

Four months later, James found out on social media that she was pregnant with another man’s child which he was understandably devastated about. James expressed how hard he found it on Father's Day as he felt he should be a Dad and it was taken away from him.

The Electrical Industries Charity (EIC) understands that those who are suffering in silence need support to help them take the first steps in coping with loss and overcoming their mental health challenges. This is why the Charity has launched the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), to give people who are struggling within the electrical sector all the support they need to have a better future.

Men can be affected by termination in many of the same ways as women. Many men have reported post-termination problems such as feelings of grief, helplessness and guilt; sexual dysfunction; substance abuse; self-hatred; fear of relationships; risk-taking and suicidal behaviour; depression; greater tendencies toward becoming angry and violent; and a sense of lost manhood.

At this point James contacted the EIC to find out what support we may be able to provide to help him cope with the traumatic situation he was going through. The charity helped James to arrange a visit with his GP and to disclose that he had been suffering with stress, low mood, anxiety and insomnia. James GP prescribed medication to help him manage how he was feeling. He was advised that it would take about 6-8 weeks to feel the full effect, and that he could return to his GP if necessary.

The EIC also referred James for a psychiatric assessment to clarify whether there were any other underlying difficulties with his mental health and whether the medication was best suited to James needs, as he was suffering with sleepless nights in addition to low moods. The psychiatrist diagnosed a depressive episode of moderate severity, meaning he was reacting to the difficult circumstances he was faced with, and his medication was amended to include a sleep aid.

The Charity additionally provided funding for James to receive private CBT therapy which was incredibly successful. Even after the first session, James said he was in a ‘much better frame of mind’. Since completing his sessions, James stated that he has had a complete change of outlook on life, he feels a lot more positive about his future and has even given up smoking.

Through EAP, the Charity ensures that those who are struggling to cope with grief are getting the help they need to lead as normal a life as possible by offering key services, such as counselling and confidential emotional support.

James has recently contacted the Electrical Industries Charity to say “once again thank you for all your help and support. It was much appreciated, keep up the good work!”

Thanks to support from the industry, every year the Electrical Industries Charity is able to offer hundreds of our industry colleagues both practical and emotional support during their time of need.

If you or someone you know is struggling to deal with a life-changing experiences and requires support, please contact the EIC support team: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 0800 652 1618.

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Nobody is born wanting to hurt, harm, or neglect themselves. Nobody is born wanting to act against one’s own interests or to ignore their basic needs.

Self-harm is a commonly misunderstood psychological phenomenon. Some people believe that those who harm themselves are simply stupid because why else a person would do that. Others think that self-harm is only attention-seeking behaviour. Some even call it selfish.

Traumatic events, especially those that happen when you are young, have the potential of disrupting your life in significant ways. One upsetting way that people cope with the emotions and memories is to self-harm. To many this kind of behaviour seems unimaginable. To those who have suffered extreme trauma, this behaviour can be a significant, albeit painful, coping strategy.

Recently through our EAP, the Electrical Industries Charity supported Neil, who suffers from severe mental health issues resulting from childhood trauma. Neil is a husband and father to a beautiful family. He spent some time in the army and now works as a warehouse operative for an Electrical Wholesaler.

Initially it was Neil’s workplace who referred him to the EIC in September 2018 for psychological support. The Electrical Industries Charity (EIC) understands how important a support network can be to someone who is struggling to deal with emotional trauma, and for this reason the Charity launched the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). The Charity’s Programme ensures that employees and their immediate family members have a shoulder to lean on at the most difficult times, by offering them vital support services including counselling, legal advice and financial assistance and grants.

Neil has sadly been self-harming since he was 15 and his self-harming behaviour is triggered by childhood abuse, which he has never reported. Neil admitted he has been struggling emotionally - crying a lot and socially isolating himself and relayed to the EIC that he doesn't leave his room.

Neil also talked about his engagement with suicidal thinking and that he has previously attempted to take his life twice by overdose. After speaking with EIC in depth, Neil agreed to a psychiatric assessment as he felt if he didn’t get help, he would eventually take his own life.

The charity initiated the support of Psychiatry UK who assessed Neil and recommended changes in medication, in addition, the charity funded the support of a trauma psychologist to stabilise Neil’s condition.

self harm

Neil’s self-harming behaviour had become a lot worse and the injuries more severe. Last year Neil developed sepsis, this was managed with anti-biotics, and more recently Neil was admitted to hospital. This was a difficult time for Neil as his self-harming behaviour, which was once used as a method of psychological relief from trauma, now was posing a risk to his life.

Numerous letters were sent to Neil’s GP by the EIC to initiate support in the community and Neil was finally referred to the NHS psychology team for therapy intervention, of which he has been attending sessions ever since.
The EIC has been supporting Neil and his family for the past year and a half and maintain emotional support to Neil and his family who are struggling to cope with their husband, father and brother being severely ill. We are supporting Neil through his recovery and decision to report the abuse and subsequent trauma to the police.

Neil’s self-harming has reduced after his hospital stay; however, he lives in a small house with a big family and is unable to quieten his thoughts with the surrounding noise which triggers Neil’s anxiety.

We understand this is a complex and difficult time for everyone. We are living in a time of great uncertainty and increasing worry about our health and livelihoods. We understand that the effect of COVID-19 on our industry and income will be great and we will all be affected. In times of darkness and insecurity we want to let our Industry members know, that we will be here to help, and we want to help Neil find respite.

In times of crisis, communities strengthen and work together to support each other. We are an industry in community.

Thanks to support from the industry, every year the Electrical Industries Charity is able to offer hundreds of our industry colleagues both practical and emotional support during their time of need.

If you or someone you know is struggling to deal with a life-changing trauma and requires support, please contact the EIC support team: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 0800 652 1618.

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Benefit system must be ‘fundamentally modified’ to reduce mental health harms, researchers conclude.
Tens of thousands of people may have become clinically depressed as a result of universal credit, according to a study which says the welfare reform must be “fundamentally modified” to reduce mental health harms.

A report published in The Lancet found the introduction of universal credit was associated with a 7 per cent increase in psychological distress among recipients since the benefit was introduced – equivalent to an estimated 63,674 unemployed people.

Of these, over a third – or 21,760 individuals – may have become clinically depressed, according to the researchers from the University of Liverpool.

Universal credit was launched in April 2013 in a bid to simplify the benefits system and help more people into work, but it has been the subject of controversy from the start, with reports of long delays in payments and increased use of sanctions.

Replacing six existing benefits, the major welfare reform has been rolled out in stages, and by the end of 2018, 1.6 million people were receiving universal credit across England, Scotland and Wales – including 73 per cent of unemployed people, amounting to 990,000 individuals.

The study, which is the first of its kind to quantify the possible impact of the new benefit on mental health, followed more than 52,000 working-age people to compare changes in psychological distress before and after the reform was rolled out in their local authority area.

The report concluded that ministers should assess its effect on the wellbeing of benefit claimants amid concerns that the roll-out could exacerbate pressures on already stretched mental health and social care services.

universal credit

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One in five (21%) UK adults say they are drowning in debt and money worries, with many saying that their mental health has deteriorated as a result

  • Close to half (49%) of Britons are now in the red with the average debt now at £4,374
  • One in 10 (10%) of those in debt admit that poor mental health has made it difficult to manage their money and pay off bills
  • Money worries cost us 46 minutes of sleep a night

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One in five (21%) UK adults say they are drowning in debt and money worries, with many experiencing mental health issues as a result.

The new findings published by Money Advice Service ahead of World Mental Health Day this week, reveal that half (49%) of all Britons have some personal debt (excluding a mortgage and student loan), which is worth £4,374 on average. Of those in debt, one in 10 (10%) admit that mental health issues have made it difficult for them to manage their money and pay off bills.

There is a strong relationship between debt and mental health, with money problems being both a cause and a result of poor mental health. People experiencing financial difficulties are more likely to feel anxious, depressed and stressed, while those with an existing mental health problem find themselves more likely to get into debt. The figures show that of those who are currently in some form of debt, two fifths (38%) have felt anxious and a third (34%) have suffered from stress, depression (29%) or mood swings (21%).

Trouble sleeping appears to be the norm amongst those in debt, costing the average person with debt 46 minutes of sleep a night. The pattern remains during waking hours, with those in debt spending an average of 59 minutes in a typical day agonizing over their debt problems. Late evening between 8pm and 10pm is the most common time for worrying – with 11% saying that this is the time they worry the most about their debt.

Along with the financial worries, struggling with debt often leads to a strain on relationships. Among those who are in debt, one in six (16%) say that their debt has affected their relationship with their partner and a similar number (15%) say it has made them withdraw from their family and friends.
At the same time, close to one in five (18%) of those with debt say that they have spent more money, comfort eaten (17%) and drunk more alcohol than they should (15%) in an attempt to make them feel better. A further fifth (22%) say their debt has made it hard for them to concentrate.

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Information about the relationship between money worries and mental health, with suggestions on how to address them:

A breakdown, benefits, debt and brown envelopes - "The more I worried about money, the more unwell I got."

What can I do to help myself?
Sorting things out can sometimes feel like an overwhelming task.
Try taking things one step at a time. These suggestions might help get you started.

Understand your behaviour
Talk things through with someone you trust
Get organised
Get professional advice
Look after yourself
Further support

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Intense and overwhelming emotions, 'so agonising, it feels like being electrocuted'. This is how Rosie describes life with borderline personality disorder.

BPD is extremely complex to diagnose and is recognised as one of the most stigmatised mental health diagnoses' out there.

Whilst NICE state that 'people with BPD use mental health services at higher rates than people from other mental health diagnostic groups', accessing a long-term treatment plan for BPD can be a lengthy wait.

That's why Rosie turned to social media. This is her story:

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Parents are always looking for hidden dangers in their teens’ lives, but parental radar can easily miss prescription drug misuse.

Prescriptions are accessible and widely distributed. Having a prescription bottle doesn’t usually arouse suspicion the way illegal drug accessories would, so it’s easier to keep prescription misuse hidden. And because prescriptions have therapeutic and treatment value in health care, these medicines don’t seem dangerous.

Teen prescription drug misuse can often fly under the radar of adults. We created this guide to educate people on ways to help identify, and more importantly, prevent, teens from misusing prescription medications. Topics covered include:

• Facts about teen drug misuse and teen drug use statistics
• Teen prescription drug misuse mental and physical symptoms
• Scripts and conversation starters for parents on talking to their teen about drug use
• And much more

Continue reading here  

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