Beat January blues

Support is on hand to help you combat any mental health concerns

January can be a particularly difficult time for people’s mental health – but Royal Mail has lots of support available to help colleagues cope, writes Paul Smith.

With the Christmas and New Year period of goodwill over, January can be a difficult month – hence the often used phrase ‘beat the January blues’.

It’s vital that you access the many support networks available to you if you are feeling low, stressed, anxious or depressed. This is the case at any point of the year, of course, but perhaps is more important now than ever, particularly with the Covid-19 pandemic showing no signs of let up.

Peter Thompson is a postman at Kidderminster Delivery Office. He has experienced mental health anxieties of his own. It led to him becoming a mental health ambassador, one of the many ways we can support you.

‘Loneliness can come at the most unexpected of times,’ says Peter. ‘I have had some bad bouts of depression. Reach out – that is the first hurdle.

‘I didn’t bother looking at what is on offer. I am astounded what is on offer. If I had problems now, I know if I went through that portal I would find somebody who could help me. Do not be afraid to ask for help.’

We produced a powerful interview with Peter on this very subject. Catch up with it by clicking here.

Top tips:

  1. Accept that some things are beyond your control – limit time spent watching speculation on the news or social media, if this helps
  2. Maintain relationships and stay in touch with friends and family – digitally if you are restricted from meeting in person
  3. Talk about how you are feeling and ask for help if you need it
  4. Keep a check of your finances
  5. Get enough good sleep
  6. Try to eat and drink sensibly
  7. Keep as active as possible.

Support

First Class Support is free and confidential for employees and includes direct access to counselling services. Call 0345 266 5060, visit www.rmgfirstclasssupport.co.uk or download the ‘Lifeworks’ app. New website/app users can ‘sign up’ using a unique invitation code, which is RMG- and then your payroll number, e.g. RMG-12345678.

Rowland Hill Fund: 0345 600 4586 www.rowlandhillfund.org offers financial aid to colleagues, pensioners and their families in times of need.

Shout Mental Health Text Service is a free, nationwide, 24/7, text based service. Text Shout to 85258 in the UK to text with a trained Crisis Volunteer.

Neyber: Through My Bundle’s Financial Wellbeing option you can access debt consolidation loans and financial education. Log into My Bundle through PSP or visit: mybundle.myroyalmail.com.

Stepchange: Offering expert, tailored advice and practical solutions to problem debt, contact the UK’s leading debt charity on 0800 138 1111 or visit www.stepchange.org.

The National Domestic Abuse helpline is available, including for concerned friends. Call 0808 2000 247 freephone 24 hours a day or visit www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk.

Cruse Bereavement Care: Phone: 0808 808 1677 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm) or visit www.cruse.org.uk.

For urgent mental health support in a crisis: call the Samaritans on 116 123 (open 24/7) or in the case of a suicide or other emergency situation, ring 999, or 9999 from a Royal Mail landline.

If you are worried that someone is at immediate risk of taking their own life you should stay with that person and take one of the following steps:

  • Encourage them to call the First Class Support helpline (open 24/7) or the Samaritans on 116 123 (open 24/7)
  • Contact their GP for an emergency appointment or the out of hours support service
  • Call their Community Mental Health Team (CMHT) if they have one

Ring 999 (9999 from a Royal Mail landline), NHS direct (111) or go to the nearest Accident and Emergency (A&E) department.

4 Jan 2021