Mental health affects millions of people in the UK. It is estimated that 1 in 6 people experienced a common mental health problem in the past week. There are around 600 people working here at We Fight Any Claim. This means that, statistically, around 100 members of staff have experienced a common health problem in the past week.
We see it as our duty to offer support to those who need it. Last month’s dress down money will be donated to Torfaen Mind, in honour of Mental Health Awareness Week. But how do we know which of our colleagues need support?
Many of our staff members, particularly our sales advisors, are young people who suffer in silence because of the stigma attached to mental health. This is particularly relevant to our male members of staff, who often struggle to talk about their feelings for fear of being told to ‘man up’.
Someone who knows a lot about the stigma attached to mental health issues relating to young men is 30-year-old Aaron Corria from Cardiff Bay.
Aaron, who battled depression himself for six years before speaking out, has set up his own website called Brotectors along with the hash tag #WeGotThis to inspire other people to get help.
We caught up with Aaron to congratulate him on his inspirational campaign and get his advice to support our staff through mental health issues:
Hi Aaron! Could you please tell us a little bit about your story and why you decided to set up Brotectors?
I was struggling with my own mental health for 6 years, and during the low times I would look online and I couldn’t find anything to inspire me or to relate to. So I decided to make my own website/blog to help other people like me.
What an amazing idea. How do you support the people who contact you through Brotectors?
I’m not a health professional, and I would never try to give mental health advice – there are plenty of experts out there who can deal with that side of things. But my website has just given people the opportunity to share their experience and have a chat. Just having someone to talk to makes a huge difference. There has been some confusion around the aim of the website – it isn’t to give professional advice, it’s just to inspire people to talk about mental health. Most emails have just been thanking me for sharing my story.
Your campaign has got so much attention and praise in its early stages, you must be so pleased!
Im so proud of how well it’s done, it was only launched around 2-3 months ago and we’ve already been mentioned by Wales Online, the BBCand Unilad. Of course being mentioned by all of these is fantastic, but the real buzz comes from helping people. Receiving those emails from people saying thank you for encouraging them to talk about their feelings, that tops any coverage we’ve got from the press. That’s what we’re doing this for.
It’s brilliant to hear that your site is helping people already. Why do you think young men like yourself are so afraid to talk about mental health?
I think there’s a massive stigma around men talking about their feelings. It can be seen as a sign of weakness, and it’s sometimes how men have been brought up unfortunately. They cannot show weakness. And this is especially the case with young men. But I really think that way of thinking is changing now. There is more support out there, and celebrities such as Stormzy have been openly talking about mental health which I think has massively helped encourage others to talk.
So what next for Brotectors?
My aim now is to go worldwide! At first my goal was just to help one person. If I inspired just one person to talk about their feelings then I’d done what I set out to do, but we’ve had messages from as far as Australia, so I want to take this as far as I can!
Sounds fantastic! If some of our staff members are feeling low or struggling right now, what would you say to them?
Just speak to someone, it just takes 1 conversation to take the weight off your shoulders. To me asking for help is a real sign of strength – and I always say a problem shared is a problem cared.
Aaron is a really inspirational young man. He is challenging the stigma of mental health, after battling his own demons. If you are struggling, feeling low, or just need some support – speak to somebody. It is not a sign of weakness to admit that you’re feeling low.
If you would like to chat to the Brotectors or find out more, visit http://www.brotectors.co.uk/. Alternatively, speak to a friend or colleague, or send a message on our internal platforms and we will put you in touch with somebody who can help.
It doesn’t matter if you need professional advice and support, or perhaps just a cuppa and a friendly chat – you are not alone, and as one of the biggest employers in the local area we pledge to support all of our staff through any mental health issues they may be experiencing.
If you don’t need support, but have been inspired by this campaign, please share this blog and raise awareness of such an important subject.
We would like to say thank you to Aaron for taking the time to talk to us, and wish him the best of luck in spreading his fantastic campaign across the world.