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Mental Health Awareness Week

This Mental Health Awareness Week (15 to 21 May) we are particularly thinking about mental health in our own profession. People working in the funeral business deal with death every day – but that doesn’t mean we become immune to it.

Like anyone, we’ll have dates and anniversaries which mean something to us, when being at work is harder than another day. Also, we are local people and, as a firm, very much part of the community here in Crowborough and its surrounding villages. This means the people who use are services are families we potentially already know.

We do also have to support families who are coping with very traumatic events – such as accidents, suicide or the death of a child. None of these are easy to deal with – but our role means we must always remain professional and caring. But, we are still human.

When new staff come onboard, we take time to talk about the different situations they might face in their daily job and we give them some tools to deal with that. We also encourage them to tell us, or another colleague, if they are struggling in any way.

In whatever work we do, everyone has bad days and, of course, that happens at Tester & Jones. We’re a close-knit team here and, in general, we recognise if somebody is struggling. Often, a cup of tea and just being there for a chat can be helpful.

However, we recognise as a company that this sometimes isn’t enough. As a member of SAIF, we have access to SAIFSupport, a confidential service run by Professional Help – a member of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy. This is available to anyone on our team who, according to SAIF is ‘distressed, under acute pressure or suffering with depression’.

However, SAIF has recognised that mental health is something which needs further focus and has recently set up a task force. We will be watching to see what emerges from this, while keeping mental health firmly on our radar at Tester & Jones.

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