At Carnival UK, our Mental Health First Aiders and Mental Health Champions are all colleagues who’ve volunteered their time to take on the role of listening and signposting people to support when they need it.  

Earlier this month, we heard from some of our Mental Health volunteers to tell us a bit more about why they wanted to take on the role, and what they do to make sure they’re kind to their mind.  

This week, Heaven White, Senior Copywriter – P&O Cruises Marketing Operations, tells us about her experience with her own mental health, and why taking a minute to pause before you start each day, is so important.    


Why did you become a mental health first aider?
When I heard about mental health champions at CUK, I immediately wanted to get involved.

Like many of us, I’ve struggled with my mental health, and I know how it feels to hide how you’re really doing. Bottling up my depression and anxiety meant I’d spend my Sundays overwhelmed by stress and panic attacks, and I was often unable to leave my house to make it to the office during the week. I remember that awful dread like it was yesterday, and no job is worth hiding that.

I’ve found so much power and good in sharing and talking with my manager and colleagues, and I’m constantly surprised at how positive, kind, and supportive the people at this company are. We spend a lot of our time at work, and we don’t stop being human or impacted by our health once we log on. Our mental wellbeing impacts everything, and if we can bring more of ourselves to our jobs and feel we can be honest about how we’re really doing – without any fear of stigma, shame or judgement, or that it’s going to hold us back in some way – we’d be able to bring our best selves to work and home again.

I’m not cured of my mental illnesses. I take medication for my depression and anxiety, and I’m still trying to find ways to cope with a history of eating disorders. But my mental wellbeing is good. I have a great support system, and championing and talking about mental health at work has been so empowering. There is no shame in struggling. My experiences have made me the strong and confident person I am today.

You deserve to prioritise your wellbeing. Because you matter beyond a title or an employee number. Which is the main reason why I wanted to become a mental health first aider. And I’m really proud to be a part of a team that’s encouraging these wonderful conversations and supporting one another.

When it comes to being kind to your mind, can you share a top tip or something you do to help improve your mental health?  

My top tip is to take a minute every day to check in with how you’re feeling when you first wake up.

We’re used to running on autopilot, so when we wake up, we often reach for our phones or start the day without pausing to realise how we’re actually doing – physically and mentally.

I’m guilty of switching off my alarm and immediately looking at my phone to scroll through any notifications and social media (not a good habit!), so before I do that, I try to remind myself to do a quick body scan; I take a few regular breaths and focus on how I’m feeling from my toes, feet and ankles, all the way up to the top of my head, before I do anything else.

This helps me to wake up in my body, in the present, and note how I’m actually feeling and if there’s anything I need before I start the day. If I’m not feeling so great, I give myself permission to feel it and take some time to rest and do what I need to get better – because I know it does get better. Give it a try and let me know if it helps in any way!

We’re here if you need us  
Our MHFAs have all completed an accredited MHFA England course and are equipped with skills to lead confidential mental health colleague conversations, alongside raising awareness, reducing stigma and discrimination. Our MHCs have completed a Carnival UK Mental Health Awareness course and are equally equipped to help colleagues by connecting them to additional mental health support. 

If you’d like confidential, mental health support, you can contact any of our MHFAs or MHCs here.  

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1 Comment

  1. Michelle Harradence on

    Thank you for sharing your story so openly and honestly Heaven, as you say – the more we speak about mental health, the more stigma will be overcome.. As a fellow Mental Health First Aider – calling out to look after yourself too…
    Always here to support and listen….

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