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In the bleak midwinter

For many people, the financial pressures of Christmas will only add to the stress caused by the ongoing impact of COVID-19. Fortunately, the Electrical Industries Charity is continuing to offer the practical assistance that has already helped many through the pandemic

For the one in four people in the UK who struggle with their mental health, Christmas can be a trying time – not least with the added pressures of COVID-19.

Christmas can mark the beginning of a downward spiral for those who are struggling to keep their finances afloat, or who may be feeling isolated, have social anxiety, are recovering from addiction or are away from their families and friends.

Such pressures have been magnified over the last nine months due to the ongoing uncertainty of COVID-19, which is why this year’s festive season will seem more of a hindrance than a holiday for some.

Within the electrical and energy sector, suicide rates are already 2.7 times the national average, with the Electrical Industries Charity (EIC) dealing with 44 suicides in 2019 and receiving 564 reports of sector colleagues attempting to take their own life.

While huge steps have been taken within the industry to champion positive mental health within the workplace – including the charity itself training more than 10,000 people in mental health awareness – COVID-19 has meant a lot of those who may have made improvements with their mental health are now struggling again.

The EIC knows the festive period can be particularly hard financially and emotionally, so if you’re facing a tough 2021, its expert welfare team is here to help stop the circuit of anxiety, debt and depression.

Throughout the festive season, its experts will be on hand to deliver the practical assistance it’s continued to provide during the pandemic, including financial help to those whose circumstances have been made worse by the pandemic.

“The EIC has been on hand to help every single one of our industry mates who has needed support over this period and will continue to do so”

From advice to counselling sessions and financial grants to CV support for those who may have been made redundant, the charity is here to help, no matter what issues you may be facing.

Tessa Ogle, CEO and MD of the EIC, said: “The EIC has supported thousands of industry colleagues during the pandemic and with 22% of our sector living week-to-week, we expect the Christmas period to bring a lot of stress for at least a quarter of our sector.

“During the pandemic, a lot of our colleagues have been furloughed and had to survive on 80% of their wage, and some others may have been made redundant with the adjustments to the furloughing scheme. The EIC has been on hand to help every single one of our industry mates who has needed support over this period and will continue to do so.”

She added: “Whether you’re struggling with mental health or finance or just need a listening ear, the EIC is here for you.

“And if the EIC can’t help, we’ll point you towards an organisation which can – and we’ll still support you while you receive the assistance you need.”



Emotional therapy during a tragic time

Graham has worked as an electrical contractor for 20 years and came to the EIC at the height of the pandemic in April.

His 25-year-old son had unexpectedly passed away in his sleep and the cause of death was diagnosed as COVID-19. Graham and his wife were incredibly distressed, shocked and confused, so the EIC sourced and funded a block of bereavement therapy sessions, delivered virtually. Graham said the therapists provided exactly what he and his wife needed during the most difficult period of their lives.

After completing the sessions, the couple have continued to self-fund the therapy, saying the support has been “invaluable”.



Financial assistance when it’s needed most

Electrical wholesaler Mo had several loans and also owed money to some family members. He managed to keep on top of his repayments until he was furloughed earlier this year, so came to the EIC for help. The welfare team advised him to prioritise his repayments and focus on getting essential debts paid first. The team then referred him to StepChange, a debt charity which helps create manageable repayment plans between creditors and debtors. Mo was helped to create plans with each creditor to pay back only what he could afford during this period.

He’s now returned to work, increased his repayments and is looking forward to being debt-free.

If you need help, email or call 0800 652 1618.

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