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National news

Mental Health Awareness Month

03rd May 2022

Welcome to this year’s Mental Health Awareness Month

As the new Chief Executive of CSSC, I have been struck by the passion and dedication of the members, volunteers and staff of this extraordinary organisation to support and develop the health and wellbeing of the nation.

Like you, I am passionate about looking after my family, friends, and colleagues’ health and firmly believe the route to fostering and maintaining good mental and physical health can be complemented by connecting with others through sport, exercise and communities.

It is this belief that has brought me to CSSC, where I hope I can share the experiences I’ve gained from over 30 years in the Armed Forces, to help propel us into our second century of helping our members take care of themselves and each other.

A healthy work life balance

As well as a full and broad career in the Forces, which has seen service at home in the MOD, at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and abroad in Germany, Iraq and Afghanistan, among others, I enjoy a busy and varied homelife with my wife, two adult sons, two Labradors, one cat and six ducks.

Together with my family we enjoy a wide range of hobbies and interests, which include history, gardening, cricket, football, golf, skiing and rugby all of which provide a tremendous sanctuary for relieving stress and anxiety. Connecting with others, whether friends, family, colleagues or teammates, through sport and physical activity helps me to maintain a positive outlook, whatever obstacles I encounter.

A force for good

Throughout my time in the Armed Forces, I have been fortunate to work with some incredible people. And yet, it has also presented some exceptional circumstances to test the most resolute of individuals.

The stresses and strains of military life from training environments to active service can have profound effects on both the physical and mental health of many who bear witness. Having seen first-hand the impact of everything from homesickness in young soldiers to the very worst mental health conditions including PTSD and self-harm, I am regrettably all too familiar with the escalation and impact that can arise from feeling disconnected with others and the world.

And yet, I have also seen and felt the benefits of participation, companionship, camaraderie and connection has on fostering good mental health and wellbeing. The strength of the individual is impressive. The strength of a team or community is inspiring.

It is this desire to help people connect with each other that drives CSSC ever forward with new and innovative ways to motivate members to move more, seek new experiences and do more of the things they enjoy with the people they love.

Throughout mental health awareness week CSSC will be highlighting all the fantastic opportunities available to help members relax, connect and live their best lives. From podcasts, classes, communities and seminars on dance, yoga and exercise, to CSSC life, Active Wellbeing, sports, games, tournaments, member events, days out and volunteering. There really is something for everyone.

We’re excited to work with the charity for Civil Servants and MIND to bring you a week of fun, engaging and inspiring programmes to help you and your loved ones stay connected.

Yours sincerely,

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