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April 1, 2022

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Women in Health & Safety

‘We shouldn’t feel as though we have to diminish how we’re feeling because someone, somewhere has things worse’ – Daisy Silcock on the importance of keeping the mental health conversation alive

Daisy Silcock, Safety Consultant & Trainer, Silcock Safety Solutions, shares her experience dealing with mental health struggles and why this ultimately led her to start her own business. She also discusses what employers can do to help break the stigma surrounding mental health in the workplace. 

With over 10 years’ experience as a self-employed Health and Safety Trainer, Daisy Silcock has worked in a variety of industries including the Oil & Gas industry. She has also worked in both catering and food manufacturing and has delivered training and carried out independent internal inspections in both of these fields.

Daisy has also written and delivered various bespoke courses such as Laboratory Safety, Infection Control and Asbestos Awareness. She delivers regular self-penned courses in the Oil & Gas industry aimed at supervisors, line managers and senior manager in all areas of the field.

This interview is part of a series for Women in Health and Safety. As a member of the committee our goal is to amplify the voices of women in the profession. Some of the topics covered affect women more than men. Some are deeply personal. It’s our belief that we bring our whole selves to work and therefore should be able to talk about all sorts of issues that affect us, day-to-day, in a work setting.

Two things have struck us throughout this series. 1) We all have so much in common. 2) People are often very willing to open up, if they’re given a safe opportunity to do so with someone who is willing to listen without judgement. So, our hope is that issues discussed in this series resonate with readers, perhaps making some feel less alone, perhaps even giving some the confidence to share their own stories. We also hope readers will be encouraged to check in on colleagues, talk about the whole selves we bring to work and be there to listen.

High pressure

19 years ago, Daisy had a breakdown fuelled by a multitude of factors. She had just started a job working away from home, her parents were separating, and she was in her first relationship, which turned out to be extremely toxic.

She recalls: “The job I was in was high pressure (managing a hotel), and long hours. I started crying all the time, feeling negative about everything. I ended up seeing a GP and broke down, it all snowballed from there.”

Daisy went on to overdose twice, now believing they were both cries for help.

“Looking back, I don’t think I genuinely wanted to die. I was feeling suicidal, I was not attempting suicide. I wanted help and I didn’t know what to do.”

Her GP was the first to suggest that maybe she needed to consider changing career paths to one where she would be working normal hours.

“Part of me was weirdly glad that happened. At the time, it was a hideous idea to me. But, if it hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t have ended up in the offshore health and safety company that I went on to work for.”

As her mental health worsened, Daisy was prescribed medication. She assumed it would be a short-term solution to the problem, but 17 years later she is still taking medication daily.

“A couple of years ago, I went to see a GP who said to me, ‘Daisy, why are you so hung up on coming off these tablets? If you had diabetes, if you had high blood pressure, you’d have to be on medication forever. You’ve got an imbalance, a chemical imbalance. You have to take these tablets to balance that out.’ For me, that makes perfect sense. Every time I’ve come off of my tablets, I’ve hit a brick wall. I’ve felt like I’ve failed, and I’ve gone back on them with my tail between my legs.

Enhanced life experience

“Now, I have a totally different view. Actually, the tablets just enhance my life experience. They don’t stop me from being super happy or super sad, they just keep me at a balanced level, which means that day-to-day, my anxiety is stable.”

At the start of the pandemic, Daisy’s anxiety heightened, panic attacks increased, and she, like many people, was fearful of the unknown.

“As a world we didn’t know how bad it was, or how easily it could spread. It was a genuine fear, and, being a mother, I feared it affecting my children as well.”

Fear is a word often penned a symptom of anxiety, but many people also experience fear in regard to opening up about their own psychological health experiences.

“I have had lots of people who have refused to discuss my mental health, both professionally and personally. It was something I was ashamed to talk about with employers because I was scared that I might lose my job.

“When we discuss anything to do with wellbeing and psychological health, a lot of people suffer in silence because they genuinely fear that, if people knew, they would lose their job.

“Even now, when I’m teaching and we’re discussing stress and mental health issues, and I discuss my own struggles, I still see people squirming in their chairs not wanting to hear about it. It’s all too real, too close to home, they don’t want to know about it.”


Daisy is keen to highlight that, just because you have a long-term mental health issue, that doesn’t mean your life has to come to a halt. Despite being diagnosed with anxiety and depression, Daisy has managed to build a successful reputation and business, whilst juggling being a single parent.

“I often have to think to myself, if I can do all that, I cannot let someone else’s views affect me.

“Depending on who you are employed by, there can be a stigma, and an attitude of ‘get on with it’ or ‘some people have it worse’. We shouldn’t feel as though we have to diminish how we’re feeling because someone, somewhere has things worse.

“What you are going through matters. How you feel matters.”

Additional resources

7 tips for managing workplace stress

‘Work-related suicides should be monitored, regulated and prevented,’ SHP meets Prof Sarah Waters

My experience of workplace stress, in an organisation that didn’t see occupational stress as an issue

For more information about the Women in Health and Safety network see our hub page here.

To learn more about the Women in Health & Safety Network workstreams and mailing list, click here.

Read more from this Women in Health & Safety interview series.

Work-related stress

In this episode of the Safety & Health Podcast, hear from Peter Kelly, Senior Psychologist for the Health and Safety Executive about work-related stress.


What makes us susceptible to burnout?

In this episode  of the Safety & Health Podcast, ‘Burnout, stress and being human’, Heather Beach is joined by Stacy Thomson to discuss burnout, perfectionism and how to deal with burnout as an individual, as management and as an organisation.

We provide an insight on how to tackle burnout and why mental health is such a taboo subject, particularly in the workplace.


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