For those of you who either follow the blog posts or my Twitter feed, you’ll know that work has been a struggle when managing my anxiety.
Bold personalities and egotistical senior-heads have (at times) proven very difficult.
It is really important for all who battle with mental illness to feel comfortable at the workplace and of course, for the workplace to acknowledge and understand that mental health, just like many other illnesses and “time off” for a cold are equal.
Just because you can’t see something, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
The wind, proven example.
Anyway, I digress.
Last week, it was announced that the charity MIND would be coming in to do two sets of training – the first, a group session for the less senior heads to understand why we get stressed at work and the triggers. The second, a group session for the management team to understand how to manage those who struggle with stress.
I should add, management, like the rest of us are human and have stresses of their own of course. I would have liked to have seen a more “generic” training session that didn’t set us apart so much but hey, one day at a time.
I’m going to gather the notes and write a more in-depth blog with some key learnings but I wanted to share the following email which came through this morning from the Director.
I have never spoken to him about my time off, the therapy or the medication…but I know he knows and he knows I know he knows. (Sorry, couldn’t help myself, I’ve been watching Friends)
THIS email and the training means the absolute world to me as I head into work and it’s definitely a step in the right direction after a year of ups and downs.
I hope everyone who was able to attend found the sessions with MIND useful. For those unable to make it, XXX has copies of the handouts from the trainer which I recommend you grab a copy of and read over the weekend.
As a business the welfare and well-being of every individual is central to the everything for XXX and I. Yes we all have grumpy days; days when we battle with ourselves (and our clients); days when the sky is dark even when the sun is shining.
Stress – as we all discussed yesterday – comes in all shapes and sizes. Some we can cope with, others we can’t. And that’s where we all need to be there to support each other as best as we can.
This wonderful profession we’ve chosen (I actually wanted to be a footballer) is as tough as it is rewarding. XXX and I are fully aware of the environment we work in. As I say ‘if we didnt have clients…’ 🙂
Statistically though, right now, 1 in 6 of us is dealing with a mental health problem such as stress, anxiety or depression, and 77% of us will experience it (or have already experienced it) at some stage in our life. You can’t ignore those figures.
When you read it like that, it becomes a stark reality of life, and with it, nothing to be ashamed or scared of. Importantly, we all have the right to privacy, and for some of us that will always be the way to deal with it; for others, it maybe better to be open and share. As the trainer said yesterday, for some people, sharing is a genuinely positive mechanism for dealing with it.
As a business, as people, as a ‘family’ (and i’m using that expression as it is oft coined by you lot to us), XXX and I want you all to know that support is always at hand. Whether that’s support externally, or just a green chair to sit on, or a friendly ear in a quiet, private corner. Don’t be afraid to say ‘help’. There is always someone willing to listen. Do not suffer in silence.
That is why we brought in MIND yesterday. We wanted it to be a very public flag. We wanted to offer some basic advice in identifying, dealing and coping with mental health issues – however big or small. Not just at work, but at home. Above all, we wanted to make sure everyone in this ‘family’ of ours – including XXX and I – know there’s help and support at hand.
If you’re struggling at work, please speak out! Management will never change the way things are if they don’t realise things need improving or that there’s something wrong.
Together, we’ll end the stigma 💙