Monday 10th October is World Mental Health Day, and this year’s focus, as decided by the World Federation for Mental Health is ‘Make mental health and wellbeing for all a priority’.
The Mental Health Foundation
For over 70 years, the Mental Health Foundation has been working to make sure that mental health is treated on a par with physical health. Mental health problems impact everyone. We need to do as much as possible to prevent mental ill-health – as individuals and as a society.
The Foundation sees World Mental Health Day as, ‘A chance to talk about mental health in general, how we need to look after it, and how important it is to talk about things and get help if you are struggling.’
With this in mind, two of our colleagues, both open about their mental health, put together their thoughts around this year’s focus, linking it to their own experiences. Katelyn and Tom firmly believe that in being open about mental health, we will remove the stigma and benefit all those who sometimes struggle.
STR’s Talent Acquisition Specialist
As most people will know, I’m not one to shy away from talking about my mental health. I post about it on LinkedIn and feel it’s important to break the stigma and taboo that goes alongside having anxiety.
When I joined the TA team at STR earlier this year, I was very open with my Team Leader about my anxiety and how it affected me day to day. This surprisingly made the transition into a new team so much easier and enjoyable as she knew what would make me feel uncomfortable and trigger my anxiety.
I talk about my mental health a lot on my LinkedIn platform as in a working environment there is such a taboo around mental health, and people speaking about how they feel is often frowned upon. Yes, LinkedIn is a professional platform but it’s so important to speak about the signs of anxiety, depression etc, as it’s more common than many people realise. We are human and having emotions and feelings about certain situations is completely normal.
On LinkedIn, I sometimes talk about how I manage my mental health by going to the gym or speaking about how certain situations make me feel. If this can resonate with just one person that reads it, I feel as though I’ve done something worthwhile.
But there is still so much more we need to do as a society to start to normalise mental health. Tools need to become more widely accessible to people who need them. We need to break away from judging people that suffer with different mental health issues. Because I have anxiety that has to be medicated, does that mean I am unable to perform my job to a high standard? No, because I know how to handle it now, I speak openly and exercise. Everyone’s coping mechanisms and reliefs will be so different it’s not a one size fits all. You’ll need to find what works for you. Speak up and be proud.
urban’s Strategic Talent Specialist
From my experience regarding my mental health, I’ve have found speaking about it to others and being open and transparent and not afraid to talk about things that hinder you or worry you, is something that has benefitted me. I was hesitant to open up given the stigma, and the archaic stereotype that men have to be strong and never let problems bother them. However, opening up and speaking to friends and family about my struggles with neurological issues, has helped me improve my communication with others, where I was too scared or anxious to do something before.
Struggling with Autism, Depression and Anxiety throughout my life has been something that has held me back and stopped me from doing certain things in my like. Speaking to friends and professionals, such as therapists and councillors, has allowed me to work through social struggles and help me create a positive outlook on activities and things that may have been a hinderance to me previously.
I think that the attention on supporting mental health has improved over the past 5 years, but there is still a long way to go. A lot of my generation, who grew up with social media and other digital applications, are still struggling with hate and judgement, which has not been supported by companies as much as it should. They have taken some good first steps, but there are still many hurdles to overcome to help those who don’t have a voice, that feel like the weight is on their shoulders.
Having different avenues of support online within social media platforms, is still something that is lacking and would be massively beneficial for individuals who are struggling to know who they can talk to. In the past, I’ve felt that I would be judged for what I said, so it’s important for companies to provide a safe space that really benefits your mental health and creates a positive mindset.
As a society, we need to keep supporting campaigns that are supporting mental health to allow people, who are in a dark place or are struggling with the issues that the world throws at them, to have a voice and talk about the struggles that they face. STR Group is doing an excellent job with giving employees across the company different avenues of support to help them work through personal and life issues, which has helped me a lot. The world bodies need to keep investing significant money into campaigns and networks to support people of all ages, backgrounds and beliefs, to allow them to have a voice to speak about their feelings. We all need to support the growing number of people across the world who are dealing with mental health struggles every day.
How are you?
It’s an important question to ask, more than once. Sometimes the automatic response is ‘Oh fine’, when actually it’s far from fine. So check in with family, friends and colleagues regularly to give them the opportunity to express how they’re feeling. If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, try these resources or call your GP to understand more, or get help.