Today is World Mental Health day and one of our clients, a Director at an organisation with over 500 employees, kindly wanted to share his own personal view of his experience on this day.
Mental Health is huge. There are lots of statistics in the news and what they mean to us, what the latest research is and what various politicians and governments are doing (or saying they will do). I don’t want to repeat any of that here.
On a previous World Mental Health Day, someone shared an article by a CEO in the charity sector who had openly shared his own personal mental health issues, which I read. What happened next shocked me. It hit me like a lightning strike. That article was the trigger for me facing up to the fact that I had been struggling to cope for some time following my partner’s serious illness and losing my mother, within a very short space of time. I had been ignoring the fact I was suffering and of course it got to the point where something had to give; I was struck by a major panic attack whilst at work.
I sought the help of a colleague, who was calm and reassuring but also very practical and helpful. They, in turn, persuaded me to talk to my boss, who was fantastic and their understanding and support sustained me through the following few weeks when I wasn’t well.
Having started the ball rolling, I talked to my partner, a close friend and eventually my doctor. I cannot stress enough how much talking to all those people helped me and I am grateful to every one of them for helping me finally and openly admit to myself that I was struggling and to seek help. Their support was amazing and heartfelt and I continue to reach out to them just to check in and maintain an even balance. They’ve become a great support network. When I returned to work after a short spell, I decided to tell my team why I’d been away from work and again the support was brilliant.
I had different kinds of help on the road to feeling fully fit again but if you ask me what was the key thing which helped me, it was talking about it. Without a shadow of a doubt, it was talking about it. I was lucky that my mental health issue was relatively short-lived, if hard-hitting at the time. Not everyone is as lucky and not everyone feels they can talk about how they feel.
I am writing this personal blog today in the hope that if someone is struggling, or knows someone who’s struggling, then it might encourage them to reach out and take a step towards getting the help they need, by talking about it.
Organisations and the people within them have to create an environment in which people feel safe in reaching out and we shouldn’t be afraid to collectively talk about mental health. I count myself very lucky that the organisation I was working for at the time was the MS Society. They were incredibly supportive.
When it comes to mental health, we really do need to talk. Supporting #WorkLifeWeek 2019 and #WorldMentalHealthDay