16th March 2022
Paul and Fiona attended the Network Rail Wales and West Mental Health First Aider Conference and gave an address on the subject of his lived experience of mental health to the assembled 70 Mental Health First Aiders. This event served as a soft launch of Head-shunt and enabled us to share with the MHFAs some of the plans we have for Head-shunt and welcome their engagement and input. Practical offers of help and financial help came as a result of this event, which is greatly appreciated.
7th April 2022
Saw coverage of our new charitable body and Paul's experience in the Wiltshire Times, Gazette and Herald and Swindon Advertiser. The link to the online article is here -
Saw coverage in the sidelines news section of The Railway Magazine about the launch of Head-shunt in May 2022
We distributed a press release to the rail industry press which resulted in some favourable coverage in trade magazines; which marked the virtual launch of Head-shunt.
A presentation on lived mental health experience to the Network Rail Wales and Western Team
similarly a presentation was made to the Great British Railways transition team
Fiona and Paul met the Network Rail Regional Director Southern as to how they work with the railway industry; this was a very positive meeting which saw us revise our presentation material. With the Regional Director highlighting that one of our core strengths is the lived experience we have and are able to speak with others.
Mental Health presentation to Total Rail Solutions, a nation wide rail contracting company
The launch of the Head-shunt youtube channel; with a talk filmed by Paul on his lived experience; which was uploaded for world suicide prevention day.
Paul gave a presentation to the Network Rail design group team; and spoke at the national conference Rail Wellbeing-Live -
We were interviewed by a member of Samaritans staff as part of their study into mental health for people in the railway industry; super data and some of our presentation material.
We made a presentation to the senior representatives of the Train Drivers union, ASLEF on the charity and our lived experience. Very generously, post event they made a very significant donation to our charity. Additionally we made a presentation to the East Anglia leadership team for Network Rail on our lived mental health experience; and we also met and presented to the Rail Contractors Association.
This month saw the publication of the Government sponsored report, by the Samaritans, into mental health in the railway industry; for which we were proud to contribute.
Additionally we presented to the Network Rail Wales Route Director and his team on the support services that Head-shunt can offer their staff
We made and uploaded a video to our youtube channel for Men's Mental Health Awareness Week 2023 -
We also attended a wellbeing event in Milton Keynes; which involved people from the rail industry taking part in a relay run; we publicised the work of Head-shunt at the event.
During the month we very kindly received a donation from a family of a railway employee; actions such as this are so kind and help us carry on supporting other members of the railway family.
Additionally we made and released a film for Rail Safety Awareness Week on the power of having a personal safety plan to help stay mentally well. This has also been uploaded to our youtube channel..
It was a pleasure for Paul to be one of the panellists for Wellbeing Wednesday operated by the rail wellbeing live team.
This was a quiet month compared with June and we focused on refreshing presentation material ready for talks in August and September.
We presented to the Young Rail Professionals as part of a triumvirate of mental health presenters talking about experience to help young railway people.
Over 250 Network Rail staff from Wales & Borders received Paul and Fiona's mental health lived experience talk; which was well received the in the multiple events attended.
Our first well-being volunteers day also occurred at a church hall in Wiltshire where our volunteers met and did building and maintenance work on a location which also operates as a food bank and community cafe.
We overhauled and improved this website and made the following press release -
Rail Charity achieves highest number of railway mental health talks in one month
Release dated 31-10-23
Head-shunt; a wholly voluntary, mental health charity for the Uk rail industry, undertook its highest number of mental health talks in one month; during September 2023. With three talks to large Network Rail conferences.
The Network Rail Wales Route asked Head-shunt’s Paul and Fiona Stanford in the Summer to speak at a series of their regular roadshows, for their maintenance teams. The 3 talks covered Paul’s lived railway mental health experience ranging from anxiety, to depression and complex PTSD and his subsequent recovery and his learning points to stay well.
A first for the charity was Fiona speaking publicly about her experience as a partner of a rail worker suffering mental health challenges and how she supported Paul and her own learning for people to stay well.
Speaking after the events, Network Rail Programme Manager Josh Giddins said ‘“ I would just like to say thank you to Paul and Fiona for their brave talk on mental health and their personal experiences, Fiona’s tips on how to help and support someone who is struggling were a real help.
The events at which Paul and Fiona spoke ranged in audience size from 60 to 120 Network Rail people across the North and Mid Wales area. In the wake of the 3 talks Fiona said ‘ It was an honour to be invited to share a platform with Paul at the Network Rail Maintenance Roadshows in September. For a long time I have wanted to share my journey of support for Paul. This was a great opportunity to set out my 7 step plan for supporting someone on their mental health journey and the 7 ways we can keep ourself well while offering support to others. I would like to say a big thank you to all who listened, shared their stories and gave Paul and I such lovely feedback’.
The charity is now preparing for its November commitment with Paul speaking to a rail conference in Birmingham on his lived railway mental health experience and is also planning for 2024 events with its volunteers.
NOTE TO EDITORS
Headshunt is a voluntary railway focussed mental health charity - funded by individuals and bodies including rail contracting company Total Rail Solutions and rail unions. Over 2500 rail staff have heard Paul Stanford’s lived railway mental health experience and shared learning to date. The charity contributed to the Government sponsored study of mental health in the rail sector in 2022 and 2023; with their lived experience.