Tesco supports Time to Talk Day 2017

2 Feb 2017

Tesco is supporting ‘Time to Talk Day’ to raise awareness of mental health and encourage colleagues to have those conversations that people sometimes avoid.

Tesco supports Time to Talk Day 2017


Time to Talk Day, run by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, aims to get more people talking about mental health than ever before. Lee White, a Tesco colleague, shares his mental health journey to inspire others to learn from experiences:

I have worked  at Tesco for 23 years. Two years ago I discovered I had a mental health illness and I am now on the long journey to recovery.  As today is Time to Talk Day, I want to share my experiences on what it is like living with a Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Personality disorders are a type of mental health problem where your attitudes, beliefs and behaviour cause you long-standing problems in your life. We tend to see black and white, with no grey areas in between.

Throughout my life I’d developed a technique for dealing with my feelings and the trauma I had experienced during childhood – burying my head in the sand. However, when a close family friend took their own life in 2015, it quickly became apparent this coping mechanism was not working.  

In the end, I was hospitalised for treatment. I was given professional support and attended Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) sessions. The nurses observed me 24 hours a day during meals, sleep and wherever I went…which was a very strange thing!  But those nurses and doctors saved my life, and today my three children still have their dad and my wife still has her husband.

 BPD is an illness that you can manage over a period of time between five and eight years with an 85% success rate, so pretty good odds. Today I have a bag of mindfulness tricks that I use, along with my daily medication, to help balance my sensitivity and moods. Mindfulness is one of the four key skills you build during DBT, it’s a way of becoming calm and rational around others in response to challenging situations. 

I’m proud to work for a company committed to raising awareness of mental health issues. In May 2016 Tesco signed a pledge, committing to help end mental health stigma and promote mental well-being and last month announced it is offering voluntary mental health training to all UK colleagues to help them talk openly about mental health. The more people understand mental health issues, the more sufferers can overcome their feelings of stigma, shame and isolation.  I can’t stress enough how much it helps when someone takes time for a cuppa, go for a walk to just listen to another person talking about how they feel.

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