Every year in October the Ministry of Health, Social action and Equal opportunities organises together with the many NGOs, social services, social enterprises a week of awareness raising about the different dimensions and elements of our very hectic lifestyles, what effects stress can have on our daily lives. It also offers information and resources, contacts to the organisations who are there to help. Part of the action was the distribution of anti-stress “tool-boxes” in the train stations for the commuters, which included some very informative and fun materials and gadgets to raise awareness and break the stigma and taboo associated with stress, pressure, and it promotes openness, dialogue and seeking help before the problems escalate.
Two of our COFACE Member organisations were involved in the activities, the Ligue des Familles and Aidants Proches. The Ligue des Familles is the French speaking family network, they were involved with regards to family policy; parenting support; socio-cultural work with educational programmes on themes related to the family and family life; delivery of services to its member families and a range of relaxing activities for adults and children. The Aidants Proches NGO, is an organisation representing the interests of family carers towards the regional and federal government in Belgium, and they also offer a resource centre to family carers.
COFACE participated on the last day of the anti-stress week, as the events culminated in a one-day event on work-life balance, and how the problems of reconciling work and family life causes stress, not just temporary, but can also lead to chronic stress, longer-term mental health problems and absenteeism.
We presented our 2014 campaign, which was very well received, and even the Wallon Minister for Health, Social Action and Equal Opportunities Eliane Tillieux endorsed our 2014 campaign and reassured us of her support for next year. The plan is to create an even closer link in 2014 between the European Year for Reconciling Work and Family Life and the anti-stress week in Wallonia.
If you are inspired and would like to organise similar events, have a look here