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Mental health in the workplace – how you can make a difference

Ivan Holding

Workplace Consultant and MD

Mental Health In The Workplace – How You Can Make A Difference

Mental health isn’t an easy subject to put out there, but an important one…

I was out jogging on Friday evening, and I was reflecting on the fact that each of us have varied responsibilities in life and each of us in our own circles are probably leaders in one thing or another.  Some of us carry more obvious leadership roles of fatherhood to our family, or directorship in a business, and it can be hard to get through some days, incredibly hard.  Many of us find ourselves carrying the roles of husband, father, friend and mentor, and I believe it takes courage to face up to the fact I don’t have all the answers, all the time, but that is why it is good to speak out.

The human being is a fragile creature and the mind is one of the most complex members of the body.  The website ‘Mind’ confirmed 1 in 4 people will experience mental health issues in their life. Perhaps if everyone was truly honest that number would be more like 1 in 2.

It takes bravery to acknowledge you’re in pain, to ask for help, and to show some vulnerability. Reading that statistic above you realise that someone close to all of us is struggling, and it would be so simple for each of us to try to ride over it and ignore it.

It struck me that if everyone of us took the time to look after one other person’s mental health, the world would be a much better place. I like to think that there are those around me, who would be there to help me in times of need and so I hope you take the time to find someone near you, to listen to, to support, to share and to encourage, not just today but make it an commitment ongoing.

That message of kindness and helping each other and looking out for each other is why I wanted to write this post. I want to see more people sharing experiences and talking about the importance of positive mental health, so that a healthy attitude towards a person’s well-being will become embedded in every workplace culture.

Many businesses already recognise the need to provide for mental health in the workplace – I toured the new Plus X building in Brighton  (visit their website here) recently where all the staff are trained in mental health – an amazing concept and one that every company could embrace to some extent. And we’ve recently worked with OGUK on their new London workspace where I’m proud to say we’ve helped them to implement a wellness room within their new space – a place specifically allocated for non-work related activity such as personal calls, meditation and reading – where you can shut the door to the hubbub of the business day and be alone for a few moments.

These are two excellent examples of companies recognising the needs of their staff and users but I feel that so much more can be done. And it starts with you taking an interest in someone else.

Take care, Ivan

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