Sector embraces World Mental Health Day

John Thompson, CEO of APHC
John Thompson, CEO of APHC

HPM continues its series of articles contributed by the APHC to mark Quality Plumber Week 2019.

Today is day four of Quality Plumber Week and it’s World Mental Health Day, which this year is focusing on suicide prevention. Worldwide, close to 800,000 people die due to suicide every year, which is one person every 40 seconds. Suicide is a global phenomenon and occurs throughout the lifespan. According to the World Health Organisation there are indications that for each adult who died by suicide there may have been more than 20 others attempting suicide.

If you have a question or want advice on mental wellbeing you can send a Tweet to John Thompson, APHC CEO and Listening Volunteer with Samaritans using #QPW19. John is live between 9am to 5pm today. Or you can call Samaritans 24/7 free on 116 123

We asked John Thompson for advice on how we can support our colleagues with mental health issues.

Sometimes people just need to talk about their feelings, so make yourself available should a colleague want to talk. Offer them your support and encourage them to seek help either from their GP or a private psychiatrist, or by contacting the Samaritans or from support groups such as the MENtalk Facebook Group.

If they want to talk to you then let them by talking openly and don’t judge them.  It’s important to try and see what they are experiencing from their perspective and to always remain calm. It’s also important to say that they may not want advice. Just being able to talk about their problems may be enough to help them.

There’s no magic formula, but letting colleagues know that you are there for them can be a real help.  And if they have confided in you then they have recognised they have a problem which is the first step.

Ask them if there are any aspects of their work which is contributing, as there could be things done or put in place which could help them without adversely affecting the business. But be honest and open as some requests may not be practical.

In some instances employees are scared to tell their boss about a mental health problem and so problems can spiral.   If you are a manager or you employ staff, try to send a clear message to them that their mental health matters and being open about it will lead to support.  If you can see from a colleague’s body language, or mood that they’re not happy, take the time to take them aside to ask them how they’re feeling, and let them know you are happy to listen and talk about it.  They may feel more comfortable talking outside of the work environment, so offer to go for a coffee or lunch.

Change doesn’t happen overnight and the individual relationships between colleagues, managers and employees need to be developed over time, but you can start by taking an active interest and asking how they are.

You can get involved with Quality Plumber Week by visiting