Detective Sergeant Marcus Tawn is on a mission to change people’s perception of mental health – and he should know, after having a break-down at work and being diagnosed with anxiety and depression.
As part of Mental Health Awareness Week (14 – 20 May 2018) Marcus (48) is raising awareness about mental health issues which will affect two thirds of us during a lifetime.
Marcus said, “In 2010, I suffered a break-down at work and was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. I experienced the difficult feelings of isolation, unhappiness and had to manage the stigma of being mentally unwell whilst also being unable to communicate with my wife.
“This culminated in me returning to work too early and never really getting to grips with why I felt as I did.
“In 2016, I again took time away from work due to mental health issues but managed to get extensive support from Wiltshire Police. ”
Marcus, who has been a Police Officer for over 28 years, wants to reduce the stigma of mental health in the police and does that by delivering presentations to officers and staff within Wiltshire Police as well as neighbouring Forces. So far, Marcus has spoken to nearly 500 people about his experiences, how to reduce stigma and how people can get help to maintain good mental health.
He added, “It became clear, through feedback, that I wasn’t alone and many colleagues had been in a similar position. It was like a ripple effect with conversations being had that I’d never seen in my service.
“I hope the talk I do has allowed others to understand more about the impact of adverse mental health and how to recognise the triggers in themselves, their colleagues and families.
Marcus’s presentation is very open and honest – a style which helps drive the message home: we all have vulnerabilities, no matter how big or small.
“The stigma of mental health is one that the police service hasn’t ever truly broken down. In the past, we have been expected to cope no matter what.
“Taking the first steps in admitting you need help has often been very difficult for those working in the service.
“I have been able to understand how to manage my condition and have since been trained as a mental health peer supporter. I am truly passionate about helping others.
“Mental health problems can happen to anyone and I believe it is important to talk openly about how it affects individuals and the families who often get overlooked.”