Mental Health Awareness

This blog post has been written by Gillian Hughes, who is keeping a weekly diary during her time working for David as part of the John Wheatley Internship.

This week I undertook training in Mental Health Awareness. This was an absolutely fantastic course run by Mind.

In any public facing role it’s important to understand the issues which may be facing people you come into contact with. In an MPs office though, staff often work with a disproportionate number of constituents who may be affected by issues of mental ill health, including depression and anxiety as, regardless of the issue, many of those approaching their MP are ‘at the end of their tether’.

Something I’ve been really heartened by in my time in the office is the fact that the same priority is given to every case which comes in. David and his team are there to support every constituent, in any issue causing them distress. There is no differentiation based on subject matter, political allegiance or any medical condition.

On the course, we covered topics such as causes, types, symptoms and responses to different issues of mental ill health.

We discussed empathy and relatability as crucial factors in establishing meaningful relationships with those approaching the office for support. I can often see the disconnect between those visiting David regarding failed PIP assessments, Home Office decisions, benefit sanctions and any other number of other matters which fundamentally affect families, and the Government departments who dole out the decisions on a daily basis.

David grew up in the East End of Glasgow, as did I, and I feel this makes a difference in his understanding of issues prevalent in this community and the impact these can have psychologically on a person.

Whether issues of mental ill health are brought on by life stresses, or life itself becomes more complicated because of pre-existing medical conditions I’m confident that David is empathetic to, and familiar with, the impact this has on constituents’ lives.

I’m very glad to be working in an environment which is sensitive to these issues, and willing to step up on a constituents’ behalf to help make life even that little bit more bearable to those in the direst of need.

And I’m very grateful to have been allowed the opportunity into more insight of this through professional training during the course of my internship.

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