A BUSINESS lecturer and student support officer at Solihull College & University Centre is opening the conversation on men’s mental health both at work and outside.
Jat Sidhu is currently leading the Men’s Mental Health Staff Network, one of the many staff groups set up to enhance inclusion and belonging.
Alongside his work at the college, Jat also volunteers for Shout (85258), a confidential text messaging support service for anyone who is struggling to cope.
Originally working in finance, Jat decided to take a career break after he and his wife had their first baby and then came to work at the college.
Four years later, and now a father to two, he hasn’t looked back.
“I love the college atmosphere and the connections I’ve built here. I’m surrounded by a supportive team and have been involved in different projects and campaigns,” he said.
As well as volunteering for Shout, Jat is involved in a range of mental health charities and fundraising activities.
“As a male, I am aware of the stigma around mental health in men and within the wider South Asian community.
“I believe through open conversations we can get to a place where future generations don’t face the same barriers when expressing their challenges.”
It’s informed his work with Shout.
“I wanted to do something bigger. I have learnt as a father, and through my various careers, the challenges that we all face mentally but something we may not always include in common conversation.
“This is what drove me to volunteer for Shout, it was a chance for me to give back and highlight that mental health matters.
“After completing their training programme, I am now in a position where I can offer others support.”
Jat then began leading the Men’s Mental Health Staff Network at the college.
“I feel my role helps me understand students better thus making me a more empathetic teacher but also a more caring colleague.
“It’s about creating that inclusive environment and destigmatising men’s mental health.”