Retiring RMT General Secretary Mick Cash has lent his support to Rail Wellbeing Live, speaking up about his own mental health including a debilitating “meltdown” that forced him to take time off work.
Broadcast on November 5, the interview with Rail Wellbeing Alliance Chairman and Network Rail Southern Region Managing Director John Halsall is the first time that Cash has spoken publicly about being placed on extended leave earlier this year.
In the interview, Cash explains how a phone call triggered what he describes as a “meltdown” on June 19.
He says that a combination of factors led to his illness, including work pressure and the national lockdown following the Coronavirus pandemic.
Cash was quickly placed under the care of his local NHS crisis team for the next two months, before more recently returning to work.
He told RWL: “I was in a place where I got used to all the stresses and strains, and the job I have is very stressful and constant… when people spoke to me, I used to say I was fine, when I wasn’t fine.
“Lockdown didn’t help and working from home. Simple things like walking to the station, getting the bus… things that allow you to break out of the place you are in. When I was in work I’d walk around and talk to people… that helps and those things being absent didn’t help.”
Cash’s advice to anyone else going through a difficult time is: “Prevention is better than cure. When you’re feeling down, talk to someone.”
- For the FULL story, read RAIL 918, published on November 18, and available digitally from November 14.