Mental Health Awareness Week

Mental Health Awareness Week

18th May 2018

By Adam Wilkinson

This week we’ve been marking Mental Health Awareness Week with a series of blogs, activities and fundraising events here at Connect Assist.


Campaign weeks are an incredibly effective way of building awareness and a deeper understanding of a wider issue, and a positive attitude towards mental health is integral to the services we deliver and the way our organisation is run.

We’ve heard from members of the senior team on the topics that mean the most to them, including how we endeavour to deliver helplines with a heart and why removing the stigma of mental health in the workplace is vital. There’s also been a wonderfully brave fist-hand account from a member of our team on how she overcame her struggles with mental health. I too have had to learn coping mechanisms for dealing with anxiety.

Today two of our clients, Mind and The Benevolent, are sharing why Mental Health Awareness Week matters to them and the work they do. 

The Benevolent

The Benevolent is the trade charity that provides help and support to current and former employees of the drinks industry and their families.

Chris Porter, CEO at The Benevolent:

“Last year we took the decision to establish our confidential telephone helpline, manned by professional counsellors, seven days a week. The aim of the helpline is to provide an immediate support to members of the UK drinks industry facing mental health difficulties.  

This decision was taken following the increased number of applications for help related to mental health, which contrasted with past applications that predominantly requested financial or practical support, the cornerstone support types for many years.

Until 2017, The Benevolent redirected members of the trade facing mental health issues to other specialist charities or organisations, but with a strong desire to serve everyone within the UK drinks industry the we felt a responsibility to offer support themselves. 

With this new service, every member of the UK drinks industry is eligible to call free of charge and have a chat with our counsellors. By guaranteeing 100 per cent confidentiality when dealing with cases of support and ensuring that the our services are free of charge to every employee or employer of the trade, even whilst out of work, we aim to differentiate our helpline from EAP providers by working alongside, or on behalf of, HR departments.

Moreover as we felt that still there was lots to do to tackle the stigma attached to mental health difficulties, earlier this year we launched our #NotAlone campaign. The #NotAlone campaign aims to encourage members of the trade to speak freely about mental health issues within the workplace, creating a stigma-free environment, reminding both employers and employees that The Benevolent is here with professionals at hand who can help you.

We are the only charity which has created a campaign about mental health specifically for the UK drinks industry and we focus on distinct issues unique to the industry such as long working hours, lack of sleep and easy access to alcohol. #NotAlone has been disseminated to over 90 companies and regional associations of the wider drinks industry, reaching around 13,700 employees of the trade.

Since the launch of the campaign, we have received over 85 requests for help concerning mental health difficulties. Currently five members of the trade are benefiting from face-to-face counselling sessions and two from phone counselling, entirely funded by The Benevolent.

I cannot imagine what it must be like to be living with mental health difficulties and have nowhere to go or no one to talk to. Mental health issues are not restricted to class, race, gender, sexual or religious orientation – it can affect anyone at anytime in their lives and our Trade is no exception.

I’m very proud of our #NotAlone campaign, that launched to help those that are impacted by this and for them to know that they are not alone.

If you would like to speak to a professional counsellor, call our confidential helpline on 0800 915 4610, 8am-8pm, seven days a week. They will find the best way to help you.”



Mind offers advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. It campaigns to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding of mental health issues.

Stephen Buckley, Head of Information at Mind:

“This year, Mental Health Awareness Week is highlighting stress and how people cope with it. Here at Mind, we are focused on helping employees and employers create a mentally healthy workplace where everyone feels valued and supported. We have a range of information, guidance and support on how you can achieve this and we want employers to do all they can to recognise its importance.

We all know what it’s like to feel stressed – it’s part of everyday life. But when you’re overwhelmed by stress it may lead to mental health problems or make existing problems worse. 

At Mind, we also know that when mental health is in the media we see lots more people contact us looking to our information and legal helplines for advice and support.

The Mind team based at Connect Assist play a vital role in this, and can help anyone with questions about mental health problems, types of treatment, and where to get further help

If you would like information or support, contact our info-line on 0300 123 3393 or text 86463.”