Mental Wellbeing – Be the Change
Mental wellbeing is about our psychological and emotional health. For too long, it has been a taboo topic. In recent years though, there has been a great effort and considerable progress to break down the stigmas associated with mental health and getting professional help. There has been a concerted effort to create awareness, to educate, provide support and give guidance, but it is still not enough. So much more needs to be done and so much more can be done. As a society, we are still very far off from realising just how much of a crisis mental health is. Unless we’re suffering from a mental health condition, have experienced a loved one suffering, or have lost someone due to their mental health condition, it is not at the forefront of our conscience.
Suicide due to mental health is still rising. Irrespective of age or circumstance, people around the world are affected by mental health issues. Giving up and taking one’s own life also has no age. Our children, our brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, and grandparents have been lost to us because of suicide. This is why mental wellbeing is important at any stage of life and we cannot take it for granted.
So many suffer in silence due to fear of being judged, feeling embarrassed, feeling undervalued and feeling alone. These sufferers are all around us, some so close to us, but we just don’t know. Why? What can we do? How do we help?
The workspace, in particular, has become a breeding ground for people who find themselves constantly stressed, anxious and depressed. Why? Because they have to work away from home frequently or for long periods of time. Because they have to work long hours or can never switch off in this ‘always on’ culture we have created. Because they are bullied by management who think themselves to be superior and in a position to demand anything at any time.
As employers, there has to be a focus on training managers on how to be ethical leaders and how to support employee mental wellbeing. There has to be coaching and mentoring of managers to be able to understand an employee’s experience at work, how they feel it impacts their home life, what they need to know and what they can do to assist in creating a workplace that cares about the mental wellbeing of employees.
At home, there is a disconnect from a balanced life because of current pressures from work and the often unrealistic social standards or social expectations we think we need to live up to. Again, this is because of this ‘always on’ culture we have created, and lifestyle and possessions we think we need to have to be happy and feel fulfilled. And then there are the relationships and friendships that do us more harm than good mentally.
I have just scraped the surface of what affects mental wellbeing. And some of the constant negative emotions and feelings that can lead to mental illness.
Yes, we are all wired differently, and the impact of feeling stressed, anxious and depressed affects us all differently. When the effect is really bad, we need to remember that it is through no fault of the sufferer. Poor mental health impacts on how an individual reacts to stress, relates to others and makes choices. But what I’m wanting to get across, is that we need to talk and do far more to treat some of the mental health conditions that develop as a result of work and life pressures and stressors. We need to do this at work, at home and in our family and social circles. We need to have the conversations and model the behaviours that keep people communicating openly and honestly about what they experiencing, feeling and thinking. We need to create spaces in every facet of our lives where we interact with others to connect genuinely, authentically and realise the effects of what we say or do, can have on other’s mental wellbeing.
Create a culture where it is clear to every single person that their suffering does not have to be alone. Create a culture where sharing best practice in developing coping skills and supporting individuals suffering due to mental health becomes a way of living and giving to each other.
We CAN do more to create a society that makes everyone feel heard, valued and special. Having healthy relationships with others is critical to mental wellbeing. So be the change and do more to know, do more to be supportive and do more to learn how you can provide guidance. You might just save a life.
Everyone has a purpose in life. Sometimes we just don’t feel it. This is when it is most critical to know and say that “you do matter and your life is worth living”.
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Until next time…
Yours in Adapting & Being