Look after yourself this winter

Here is the latest blog from our welfare officer Sean Willams about how important it is to talk about mental health, and how get help if you need it.

Sunrise at Stubbings Wharf

It's been a little while since my last blog. I've been meaning to write one for a while now but it's been a busy few months: we had our first child and I have been dragged (kicking and screaming) into the parental world. It's been amazing! It's also been, tiring, scary, and stressful, especially when mini me is trying to tell me that something's bothering him but can't yet speak so communicates through tears and screams...loud screams I might add...

If only he would talk

And that's what prompted me to start this blog. Here is a young baby wanting to speak, wanting to tell me what's wrong, but can't yet form the words. He desperately wants to tell me he needs help and what I need to do. 

As we get older adults can also lose the ability to tell people we need help, especially if this help involves our mental health.

Mental Health awareness

At this frosty time of year I want to encourage all our customers to think about how important their mental health is. Even if you feel your mental health is in good shape it's worth taking some time out to empty your stress bucket (that's a blog for another day) and reset.

Raising awareness of any health issue is always a good thing, but more often than not mental health can feel stigmatized or even dismissed. Improving awareness is a critical step towards helping people to take action, action that can help to improve our health, reduce the risk of becoming unwell, and making us more able to seek help if we are suffering.

Early action improves recovery

I feel that we struggle to sometimes understand the importance of mental health, especially around depression, anxiety and stress. It is reported that 1 in 4 people will struggle with their mental health, but very few seek help and men are significantly less likely to seek treatment. Mini me would be shocked by this.

All health conditions require focused attention to treat them, they also need early diagnosis and detection so that the right treatment can be determined and give us the best chance of a successful outcome.  It should not be any different for mental health. For me the key word has always been 'Health': a successful recovery is more likely with early intervention. 

So be like mini me and let people know when something is wrong. Do talk, get help, and don't be afraid to speak up 

There is a great link (below) from the Mental Health Foundation that helped me realise I should be doing a bit more to help keep myself healthy.

Looking after your mental health | Mental Health Foundation  

Winter sun

The clocks going back and the seasonal changes in light can also impact on people's mental health and in some cases bring on conditions like seasonal affective disorder or SAD. Here's a previous blog that I have written about SAD.

Getting Help

It also seems like an appropriate time to promote the work of the Samaritans. Most people who contact the Samaritans are not suicidal but need someone to talk to. I've not really spoken about the Samaritans before and I really can't emphasize enough how excellent they are.

If you have ever wondered what sort of things they can do then follow this link to some real life stories: Personal experiences of contacting Samaritans | Samaritans

As always, if you are a boater and feel like you may need help then please get in touch with your boat Licence Support Officer, and don’t be afraid to ask for help, it’s what we are here for. 

You can find your local contact’s details on this map. If you prefer you can contact customer services on 0303 040 4040.

Wishing you all the best.

Happy Boating!


Some useful contacts:

0300 123 3393 (Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm)


116 123


British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP):
01455 883 300


Waterway Chaplaincy:
Senior Chaplain Revd Mark Chester 07717 813 682




Last date edited: 19 January 2018

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The boating team blog

Our boating team bring you news of their work across our network, as well as the stories of boaters they meet

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