A topic of conversation once kept under lock and key, ‘mental health and wellbeing’ has quickly become an important subject that society is keen to keep in the spotlight. Unfortunately, research has shown that two thirds of us experience a mental health problem during our lifetimes and, at the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF), we think that’s two thirds too many.
Poor mental health can manifest itself in a variety of different ways; anger, anxiety, depression, loneliness or stress are all common examples you may think of when describing mental-ill health. But did you know that panic attacks, phobias, eating disorders and sleep problems can also be signs that someone is struggling with their mental health? Whatever the issue, learning to cope and understand the importance of emotions can be a challenge, but talking to someone can often be the first step towards recovery.
At the MCF, we encourage people from all walks of life to access the support they need to lead happier, healthy lives. Since April 2016, we’ve provided £400,564 in funding to local and national charities and projects providing invaluable support and services to battling with their mental health. Most recently, our £75,000 grant to the Ashley Foundation in West Lancashire will part-fund a Homeless Mental Health Empowerment Officer to provide support and information to residents with mental health conditions.
The MCF also supports Freemasons and their family members who may be facing a tough period in their lives or are struggling to cope emotionally. The Counselling Careline has been set up to provide confidential support free of charge, and can be accessed by calling the MCF on 0800 35 60 90. All callers are offered face-to-face counselling should they wish, and last year over 530 Freemasons or their family members accessed the Careline.
Mental Health Awareness week is taking place from 14 – 20 May 2018, and this year’s focus is all around stress. To recognise the week, the MCF is encouraging all staff to make small changes to their working days to try to reduce their stress levels. Simple things like taking their whole break or going for a lunchtime walk can help to alleviate stress – the MCF has even purchased a mindfulness podcast that is available free of charge to all staff members!
So whether you’re struggling with your own mental health, know someone who is, or would like to add your voice to the wider conversation, make sure you get involved with Mental Health Awareness Week! Access the Careline for support, refer it to a friend or make a change in your Lodge or workplace to help ease others’ stress.
Mental Health: keep the conversation going.
Access the MCF’s Counselling Careline on 0800 035 60 90 or email firstname.lastname@example.org