CWU wins individual and collective awards for mental health work

Education, Health & Safety

Greater Mersey Amal Branch ASR and the CWU as a whole are lauded for ongoing efforts to care for members’ workplace wellbeing at prestigious awards ceremony…

“It’s great to see our union being recognised for this and, hopefully, this will inspire others to take a similar approach in their companies,” said area safety rep Jamie McGovern after winning an individual Behind The Scenes Champion award in the Mental Health First Aid category at last night’s InsideOut 2022 awards evening.

Speaking to CWU News as he boarded the train home from London, Jamie explained how regional safety lead Mark Holt, assistant regional secretary Emma Garner, regional secretary Carl Webb and himself set up a North West mental health support network of reps who have had mental health first aid training.

“We’ve got over 100 people in it now,” said Jamie, “and we do something called guided conversations with people, using a structured Talking Toolkit, and we’ve been quite successful, in that when trained MH first-aiders can have these calm and structured discussions with people about their issues and help them, then this has clearly positive outcomes and improvements for them,” he explained.

Where appropriate, workplace adjustments can be made for people and, the network has helped hundreds of people to improve their working experience and to be able to continue in their workplace and to help them to feel better in their everyday lives.

“One possible measure of the network’s success is that, of some 120 people we’ve had these guided conversations with, over 100 have continued at their workplace,” adds Jamie.

“Mental health support is a team game. The CWU mental health first aiders in our network are changing lives by having guided conversations and I’m proud of every one of them and of my union who, in my opinion, set the benchmark for other unions to follow.”

CWU national health, safety and environment officer Dave Joyce congratulated Jamie on his accolade and commended him for “his superb work on workplace mental health, supporting and helping his fellow workers.”

The award that the CWU won collectively, which Dave collected last night, was made in recognition of the union’s MH strategy, the significant work the union does in the field and on workplace stress, our union reps’ training programme, the support we give workers, and the CWU’s raising of the profile of the issue of mental health – as well as the various landmark agreements with major employers.

“I‘m delighted and honoured to have received this prestigious award for the CWU and to be the first trade union to win it, plus the fact that the award was sponsored and presented by Mental Health First Aid England, the organisation that sets the standards for training and guidance in this country.

“The award recognises the huge amount of work and achievement the health, safety and environment department has done, but additionally, this is an award recognising the great work of our CWU mental health network across all our regions. It’s an award for every single CWU representative and mental health first aider throughout our union at every level who has made a contribution to this great union’s work in taking action to prioritise and address better mental health in the workplace and continually raising awareness of how important mental health is by getting involved with the membership, making every effort to support, engage and connect, promote wellbeing and highlight the importance of maintaining good mental health.

“Jamie McGovern winning the individual award also was the icing on the cake. He’s done nothing but great work for this union and is a great flag bearer for others.”

Steve Jones, NEC member and chair of the union’s mental health project team, said: “In the week that I commemorated the 10th anniversary of the loss of my son to suicide, I am immensely proud that this union has won two awards. I am particularly pleased that Jamie McGovern’s immensely inspirational work has been recognised. I know Jamie will want to share his award with reps up and down the country who are supporting countless members. I am not exaggerating when I say lives have been saved.”