It’s Mental Health Awareness Week this week (9-15 May) and while this annual event serves as an opportunity to focus on achieving good mental health, at HUC we care for the health and wellbeing of our colleagues all year round.

We will be opening the Mental Health Awareness Week with the our very own ‘Getting Out and About Walking Challenge’. It’s a brilliant way to connect with colleagues across the organisation and get to know one another and share stories. We also have a Best Photo competition alongside to capture moments when colleagues are out and about.

Our mental health is just as important as our physical health. Just like our physical health, it can change, and we experience ups and downs, which is why it’s important to start conversations about it. The theme for this year is loneliness. We can all feel lonely at times. We can even feel lonely when we’re surrounded by others. In fact, millions of us hide our feelings of loneliness from friends and family. This Mental Health Awareness Week it is important to make everyone living in loneliness know that by coming together we can tackle loneliness and help prevent mental health problems.

We will also be touching on various themes throughout the week:

Tuesday – Better food, better mood

Wednesday – But first, sleep!

Thursday – It’s okay not to be okay

Friday – Together we can tackle loneliness


Mental Health is important to us

For our patients
All our NHS 111 services now offer a mental health option. In Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, NHS 111 option 2 for mental health has already been in place for a number of years. We also launched a similar service in Hertfordshire & West Essex and Luton & Bedfordshire two years ago. You can now contact NHS 111 and by pressing option 2 will be diverted to a local mental health provider. 

For our colleagues
Working as an NHS 111 call handler or in our other services can be challenging, especially as we are sometimes managing some very poorly patients. That is why we have trained Mental Health First Aiders and Incident Debriefers who can offer immediate support after a challenging, upsetting or stressful work-related situation. While they are available in our NHS 111 contact centres, they can be contacted by any other members of staff as well, including Out of Hours, Primary Care or back office support colleagues.

Our Employee Assistance Scheme is provided by Care first, an independent, leading provider of professional employee support services, for colleagues who would like independent advice. Their team of counsellors and information specialists can help with all kinds of practical and emotional issues such as wellbeing, family matters, relationships, workplace issues and much more. It is free of charge for all colleagues to use. Care first is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year and is accessible by phone or online. There is also an app and regular themed webinars.

We also signpost colleagues to a range of external support: