Mental Health Awareness Week 2024 – Samantha Colton

Submitted by Connie Maddock | 15/05/2024

To support Mental Health Awareness Week this week, we asked colleagues to share their stories to help us educate and encourage conversations around mental health and raise awareness for those experiencing mental health challenges.

Please be aware that our colleagues have been very vulnerable, and each story shared this week will come with a trigger warning.

If you are a colleague, and suffering from any of the topics covered this week, please use our support service WeCare where you have access to 24/7 GP services and counselling. Additionally, Vertas Group have a number of Mental Health First Aider volunteers who you can contact should you wish to seek confidential support.

Alternatively, if you are not a colleague, but wish to seek support, the Samaritans offer emotional support 24 hours a day – in full confidence. You can contact them here.

Samantha Colton is a Cleaner for Vertas Derbyshire and has consented to us sharing her story.

What is your experience with mental health? Please tell us about yourself, your story, and any challenges you may have faced. Anything you feel comfortable sharing.

Losing two brothers really affected my mental health. I felt alone, and it took me a while to get the help I needed. Through intense six-month therapy, a good exercise routine, a good sleep routine and seeing my grandchildren, I am doing better now.

How have you found navigating the workplace? Please tell us about any challenges you may have faced. Anything you feel comfortable sharing.

I struggled to come to work with the anxiety and grief caused by the loss of my brothers and could not concentrate.

Are there any common misconceptions or stereotypes you would like to address?

That you get over the loss of a loved one once the funeral has taken place and that you can just get back to work straight away.

What activities do you engage in to relax and unwind? 

Exercise such as walking helps me relax, unwind, and spend time with loved ones.

Are there any coping mechanisms you typically use during difficult situations that you would like to share with others who may be having a similar experience?

Talking to a trained professional, regular exercise, a good diet, and a good sleeping pattern will all help.

Thank you for sharing your story, Samantha.

This year’s theme is Movement: Moving more for our mental health, so along with colleagues’ stories, we would love to hear about what you do to support your well-being.

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