Tessa Ogle, Managing Director of the Electrical Industries Charity, urges the industry to act on reducing the stigma of mental health in the electrical sector

Tessa Ogle, Managing Director of the Electrical Industries Charity, urges the industry to act on reducing the stigma of mental health in the electrical sector and highlights how early intervention can help to save thousands of your colleagues lives who are currently suffering from mental health problems in silence.

The stigma of mental health continues to be an ongoing issue affecting thousands of people in the UK each year and can often be a silent killer in the electrical industry. In this year alone, over 400 people in the electrical sector attempted to commit suicide, and some of them succeeded…

In our sector currently, there are over a quarter of a million electricians and installers who are suffering from mental health problems but only 5% of them share their problems with their family member or a friend and the remaining 95% of workers often lie about how they are feeling or don’t tell anyone that they are suffering. As a result, they are left to suffer in silence which often makes the situation get out of hand and can lead to the deterioration in their mental health and suicide.

There are a number of different triggers which can often contribute to the deterioration of mental health. These could be due to drug or alcohol misuse, bereavement, or social isolation and loneliness which if not treated in time can have devastating outcomes.

Alcohol addiction is one of the biggest causes of the deterioration of mental health which very often leads to physical and mental illnesses and suicide attempts.

A recent NHS report showed that currently, just under 1 in 10 men and 1 in 20 women in the UK are showing signs of alcohol dependence. Alcohol misuse can often increase feelings of anxiety, alcohol-related depression and suicidal feelings – these can develop because regular, heavy drinking interferes with neurotransmitters in our brain that are needed for good mental health.

According to the Samaritans, the risk of suicide is up to eight times greater when someone is abusing alcohol. Alcohol can reduce people’s inhibitions enough for them to act on suicidal thoughts and it can increase impulsivity, change people’s mood and deepen their depression.

Your mental health and wellbeing is very important to the Electrical Industries Charity (EIC) and this is why EIC launched the Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP) which is directly funded by powerLottery and offers exclusive access to support services to those who are faced with the biggest challenges of their lives and are in need of support. The EAP provides free access to confidential support services including telephone counselling, rehab support, support for family and friends of alcoholics as well as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

Last year, 1 in 3 applications submitted to EIC cited mental health issues as their primary reason for contacting the Charity for support. This highlights that early intervention is critical in helping to stop mental health from deteriorating which can have a dramatic impact in changing many lives, but we all have a part to play.

For example, you can show your support by signing up to play EIC powerLottery for as little as £1 per month and help the EIC to reach people who are struggling before they reach crisis point while being in with a chance to win up to 15 cash prizes of up to £1,000 each month.

Each time you sign up to play powerLottery, you allow the EIC to help people like Brian O’Rourke to turn their life around and look forward to the future. Since his divorce, Brian struggled to cope with his depression and turned to alcohol to ease his suffering. After months of heavy drinking Brian reached a breaking point and was close to taking his own life, this was when he decided to reach out for help from EIC. The Charity organised and paid for private rehabilitation and family therapy and continues to provide ongoing support to help Brian get back on his feet.

Brian is one of many examples which highlights how early intervention and support from the industry can dramatically change someone’s quality of life and give hope for the future.

The continuing stigma and lack of awareness surrounding mental health problems is a serious issue across our sector. Mental health can affect any electrician at any time, but as an industry, we need to ensure that those who are experiencing any form of mental health issues are not left to suffer in isolation. Therefore, don’t turn a blind eye on mental health issues that are affecting thousands of your industry colleagues, show your support by signing up to powerLottery today and help to reduce the stigma of mental health in our sector.

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