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. This year alone, over 400 people in the electrical sector attempted to commit suicide.
In our sector, there are over a quarter of a million electricians and installers who are suffering from mental health problems, but only 5 per cent of them will share their problems with a family member or a friend and the remaining 95 per cent will often lie about how they are feeling, or not tell anyone that they are suffering. As a result, they are left to suffer in silence, which can lead to adeterioration in their mental health, and severely increase the risk of suicide.
There are a number of triggers which can contribute to the deterioration of mental health. These could be drug or alcohol misuse, bereavement, or social isolation and loneliness. If not treated in time, these can have devastating outcomes.
A recent NHS report showed that currently, just under 1 in 10 men and 1 in 20 women in the UK show signs of alcohol dependence. Alcohol misuse can often increase feelings of anxiety, depression and suicidal feelings – these can develop because regular, heavy drinking interferes with chemicals in the brain that are needed for it to function properly.
According to the charity 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.
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 for 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 them hope for the future.
The continuing stigma and lack of awareness surrounding mental health problems is a serious issue across our sector. Mental health issues can affect any electrician at any time, but as an industry, we need to ensure that those in need are not left to suffer in isolation.
Show your support by signing up to powerLottery today and help to reduce the stigma of mental health in our sector.