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Organisations from across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland (LLR) were on Leicester Railway Station on Thursday 13th October2016. The RUOK? Day was the third multi-agency RUOKToday? event to raise awareness of how a kind word or quick conversation can help lift the mood of someone who might be feeling low..

 

The campaign is supported by NHS, police, rail, local government, voluntary and third sector and other organisations, under the banner of RUOKToday? Scores of volunteers help by mingling with passengers at a designated railway station or another location. Their aim is to engage people in 30-second conversations. Among the volunteers will be senior representatives from some of the organisations participating.

 

Event co-ordinator Matthew Wakely, a mental health team manager from Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust (LPT), explained. “What we want to convey is a very simple concept. Letting someone know you are there, sharing a cup of tea and listening, sending a text message, giving some time to someone, are all ways every one of us can help.”

 

There will also be a central information point close to the station entrance where travellers can pick up information about organisations who offer help, and a quiet area where people can have a more in-depth discussion if they wish to.

 

 

Hayley Bull, Network Rail area customer services and performance advisor, one of the RUOK? organisers said: “In today’s society it is very common to experience stress, anxiety or mental ill health - or to know someone who is feeling low. Help and support at the right time can stop this from becoming more serious. We want to help raise awareness of those telling signs and how to find out more about the help that is freely and readily available to everybody.”

 

About Our Past Events

 

Organisations from across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland (LLR) were on Leicester Railway Station on Thursday 13th Oct 16

 

The RUOK? Day was the third multi-agency RUOKToday? event to raise awareness of how a kind word or quick conversation can help lift the mood of someone who might be feeling low and this may help prevent that person from feeling isolated and even perhaps eventually needing the help and support of medical intervention.

 

Everyone might at some stage in their lives experience metal health problems, talking about it when we are well helps to remove the stigma associated with poor mental health.

Matthew Wakely echoed this: “Not everyone finds it easy to start a conversation about feelings and it is not always obvious when people are struggling with their feelings. But simple human contact - knowing that you’re not alone with your troubles and that someone will listen – can make a big difference, even at the most difficult of times.”

 

Eddie Carlin of British Transport Police added: “Our vision for this event is to connect with those needing help, by asking someone ‘Are you OK?’

 

“We get a chance to begin these conversations and listen but more importantly help those who need it. As the police we often engage with people on many levels and this is another way to help and breed safety and confidence.

 

“It is fantastic that so many diverse organisations have come together to encourage us all to take a little time to listen to others.” It is hoped the event will kick start an ongoing multi-agency Change Your Mind mental health awareness campaign, complimenting existing campaigns such as Time for Change and Rethink Your Mind.

 

Organisations working together for RUOK Today?

 

Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, Leicestershire Police, Network Rail, British Transport Police, Railway Mission, Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service, Samaritans, LAMP, Leicester City Council, Leicestershire County Council, Richmond Fellowship, R2care, NHS England, CLASP, Healthwatch Leicester, Support for Carers and 2Care

 

 

Small acts of kindness

 

Cathy Ellis, Chair of Leicester NHS Partnership Trust gives an example from the RUOKToday? event at Leicester Railway Station of how small acts of kindness can bring a little appreciation for the care we can show in everyday situations.

 

Everyday there are opportunities to show a little kindness to family, friends, colleagues and strangers that cross our paths. Asking the simple question, RUOKToday? and really listening to the answer can make a big difference to the personal wellbeing of the people we meet

Emma, from Leicestershire, knows from personal experience the difference it can make when a friend, colleague or loved one takes a few minutes to listen.

 

She says: “I started experiencing symptoms of depression when I was 21, in my second year at university and I didn’t tell my friends, in fact I isolated myself from them. My symptoms got worse and eventually I left uni and went back to live at home.

 

“My family were a huge support to me. My mum, who is my best friend, would sit with me when I couldn’t sleep. We’d chat over a cup of tea or sometimes just watch TV. When I’d cry my boyfriend would wrap a blanket round me and just stroke my hair.

 

“And on a rare visit to my grandparents’ in Norfolk I remember feeling overwhelmed, and my grandad looked me in the eyes, squeezed my shoulder and just said: ‘It’s Ok, you will get through this.’ The way that made me feel has stayed with me.”

 

Emma now works as the volunteer co-ordinator for Richmond Fellowship in Leicestershire. She said: “Knowing people are there for you can make such a difference to the way you feel, whether it’s low mood, anxiety or in my case more severe symptoms. Sometimes it didn’t even need words, just being there was enough. It’s what made me want to work in mental health.”

 

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