HTM | Encouraging the sector to Talk More this World Mental Health Day
October 10th 2020 is World Mental Health day, so what better time to put HTM’s Talk More campaign back into the spotlight. Ongoing mental health troubles are not going away, and with the challenges 2020 has thrown at all of us, it’s perhaps more important than ever that we continue to talk.
Illness, isolation and anxiety have been at the top of the list when it comes to 2020’s mental hurdles, so it’s vital that initiatives such as Talk More are showcased as an outlet for our industry professionals.
At any one time, a sixth of the entire UK population aged 16 to 64 have a mental health problem, according to statistics body NHS digital. That’s undoubtedly an alarming statistic for anyone to read.
Delving deeper into national statistics, tragedy strikes with the statistic that there are around 6,000 suicides in the UK each year related to mental health issues, with males accounting for three-quarters of the total figure- making this the biggest killer of men up to the age of 49 in the UK.
From highways and construction industry research, almost 40% of individuals working within Traffic Management have also suffered with mental health issues.
For the last 3 years, Highway Traffic Management has been implementing the ‘Talk More’ campaign throughout the company, as well as looking to further its premise, message and practical application throughout the wider TM industry.
‘TM: Talk More’ is a simple, unique, industry-leading campaign within traffic management and highways that is aiming to reduce the stigma of Mental Health problems, and those affected by them.
The aims of the campaign are:
- Encourage more open discussion around Mental Health.
- Give guidance to individuals within the industry who suffer with Mental Health.
- Reduce the stigma within the industry regarding Mental Health.
- Make traffic management a more attractive industry to work within.
- Positively impact the family and friends of those who work within the industry.
Alarming stats such as the ones already outlined prompted HTM to do some in-house research of their own.
They found that within the company, 39.8% of staff reported having suffered from and struggled with mental health-related issues at some point.
Further data pointed to these issues arising due to a number of factors that ranged from work-related incidents, financial woes, personal tragedy and relationship stresses.
With the facts in mind, and a mission to spread the TM: Talk More message, HTM produced a short film to showcase the importance of mental health, mental health awareness, and just how dire the consequences could be if companies aren’t placing as much importance on mental health as they do on physical.
The film tells the story of a roadworker and his deteriorating mental state due to a combination of workplace and non-workplace related factors.
We see the lead character become ground down by the hurdles life can throw at a person before a startling finale.
The film was the brainchild of HTM Directors Greg Baldwin and Marcus Casey.
We spoke to the two gents to see how the campaign is going, and why the film was so important to what they’re looking to achieve. Greg began:
“We’ve been pushing Talk More for a while now, and we truly believe in it’s importance to our staff. Typically, men aren’t known for opening up about their problems for fear of being seen as ‘weak’ or ‘soft’ so we want to break that stigma.”
“The stats are alarming for both mental health suffering and male suicide, so we felt we had to make a stand and do something to reduce the stigma of mental health as it genuinely saves lives.”
Upon the release of their film, Marcus told us:
“As we look to branch out of our own 4 walls and provide something the industry can be proud of, we needed to produce something that has an instant impact and evokes emotion from anybody watching to emphasise just how serious this can be. So, we invested in getting the short film made.”
Greg then concluded:
“It shows just how drastic things can get, and how over a period of time that people can go from feeling perfectly fine to very anxious or depressed about what’s going on in their lives.
“We want to show the industry that this is very real, and for a while we deliberated just how ‘shocking’ we could go. But this is the reality, and we hope that the message we are spreading, and the very serious nature of why we are spreading it really comes across to the viewer, and to other companies within TM, and the highways sector as a whole.
“We’re very proud of the film, and we’d be happy to share any practices of Talk More with any person or company interested in increasing their awareness of the mental wellbeing of their staff.”
For more information contact Greg Baldwin – [email protected]