Young people's mental health 'needs awareness'

Unite delegate Aaron Griffiths gives moving speech on motion on young workers' mental health

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Unite delegate Aaron Griffiths gave a heartfelt and moving speech in support of a motion on young workers’ mental health on the last day of TUC Congress on Thursday (October 20).

Aaron said he spoke on the same motion, which he called ‘very close to my heart’, in London at the TUC young workers’ conference, and “left the room in a flood of tears”.

He paid tribute to his friend Sam, who he sadly lost a year ago.

“A 29-year-old man, father of two, and a friend to many,” Aaron told conference. “I will never forget that Sunday. Sat at home, my own family together, nice Sunday lunch with Bisto Best beef gravy, which to this day I successfully claim is homemade even when we have chicken.”

“Also, the Sunday that I received a phone call,” Aaron continued. “The contents of which will be burned into memory for an eternity. Sam was gone. No goodbyes. What came after was a conflicted feeling — anger, upset, complete devastation and confusion, knowing two young boys will now grow up without a father.”

 Aaron told Congress of the “knock-on effects” following Sam’s death, of “constantly wondering ‘what if’; the eternal guilt of not stopping to talk and say, ‘How are you doing?’”

“I have experienced loss before,” Aaron went on to say. “But nothing compares to the anger, confusion and upset of never truly knowing why this has happened. This needs awareness. This needs support.

“In loving memory, Sam Brown, father, friend, son, and a bloody good digger driver,” Sam concluded to applause.

The motion was carried.

By Hajera Blagg

Pic by Mark Thomas

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