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Breaking point vs taking a break

The opportunity to watch the Olympics, albeit a year late and at very odd times of the day, has been a real treat. I personally am very much in awe of the achievements of Team GB – every single one of them regardless of whether they achieved a gold medal or no medal.

They set their mind to something, they trained hard against all the odds and to be fair to every one of them they were high achievers just by making it to Tokyo and turning up on the start line.

The downside of the Olympics is the emergence of the ‘armchair critics’. You know the ones…. @dave1234 (name changed to protect the not-so-innocent) who could absolutely knock out a world record time for literally any of the track events and feels it necessary to comment on where our Olympic athletes failed, or the keyboard warriors over on Twitter who target the athletes to mock them and berate them for their ‘failings’.

Quite simply it’s not on. One thing which the Olympics brought into sharp focus was the issue of mental health – who could forget Simone Biles, a top US gymnast who pulled out of her competition saying: “I have to focus on my mental health”. Good for her, because you cannot underestimate the challenges which each of these athletes face and the impact just being in Tokyo had on their mental health. But the issue of mental health awareness is not just one which Olympic athletes face – it is something we all need to be aware of.

The last year has been tough and many people have struggled with their mental health. But how many people have reached out for help and how many feel ashamed to talk about it for fear of being berated by the ‘keyboard warriors’ or the people in their life who are the equivalent of @dave1234 and who think mental health problems are for ‘wimps’.

Mental Health problems are NOT for wimps and it is something we all need to talk about. Do you remember that BT advert where Bob Hoskins said: “It’s good to talk”? It may be 20 years old (it really is!) but the sentiment is the same. Do not, I repeat, do not fear reprisals from people like @dave1234 – he’s a brave old boy over on Twitter but when he isn’t poised over his keyboard ready for the next attack on an innocent person I’m sure he’s actually a very quiet chap who wouldn’t say boo to a goose.

Too many people are reaching breaking point without reaching out for help. It might be you; it might be a colleague, friend or family member. It doesn’t matter who it is, what matters is what we do about it, collectively, as a team. This month we have started a new feature with the Electrical Industries Charity so head over to page 21 to see what they have to say and more importantly how they can help people in our industry.

Let’s also think what we can do. We are a team, every single one of us working in the electrical industry, so let’s work together, support each other and most of all let’s make it ok to talk about mental health.

Let’s start that conversation now…. over to you. – Tracey Rushton-Thorpe Editor

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