Charities work with Sunderland call centre in mental health drive

Dorothy Gardiner (Sunderland Mind), Margaret Wenham from EDF and Jean Walker (counselling and volunteer co-ordinator Sunderland Mind)

Dorothy Gardiner (Sunderland Mind), Margaret Wenham from EDF and Jean Walker (counselling and volunteer co-ordinator Sunderland Mind)

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STAFF at a contact centre on Wearside have been keeping good mental health in mind.

Workers at EDF Energy, at Doxford International Business Park, were offered access to specialist health education, information and advice at the Being Mind-Full event, as part of World Mental Health Awareness Day.

Margaret Wenham, communications advisor with the firm, organised the events.

She said: “As someone who has had mental health issues in the past, this particular cause is something I am incredibly passionate about.

“Mental health is not spoken about enough however it is currently the biggest cause of work-related absence.

“We wanted to break down the barriers by offering support and advice to those with mental health problems, those who are supporting someone with mental health issues or those who simply want to know more about it. “It has been incredibly successful so far and we have been given great feedback from all at EDF Energy.”

Mental health charities and organisations such as Sunderland Mind, Sunderland Carers, the Citizens Advice Bureau were all involved with activities at EDF, as they offered advice on debt worries and diet and exercise.

Dorothy Gardiner, project manager at Sunderland Mind, said: “This is a great opportunity for organisations like ourselves to engage with large companies who are taking a positive step in promoting both mental wellbeing and physical health for their employees.

“By teaming up with EDF Energy we were able to provide information to many people by promoting our services and supporting them with their mental health issues. “Mental illnesses are some of the least-understood conditions in society and because of this many people face prejudice and discrimination in their everyday life.

“Having a mental illness is difficult, not only for the person concerned but also for their families, friends and carers.”