Over the last couple of months there have been people identified throughout all media platforms as having taken their own lives. We scroll down our news feed and see loved ones sharing pictures of those they love and care about, missing, just disappeared, only later to find they have taken their own lives. With some, they have been known to have been struggling but with others there ‘appeared’ to be no outward signs.
Mental ill health doesn’t just sort itself, or can be ‘sorted’ in a set period of time. It can hit immediately, days after a life changing event, or develop following an illness; it can also lie dormant for years. People feel once they are hit with a diagnosis that that is it for them. It’s not; it can be treated, and sometimes the condition may never leave completely but you can recover to such an extent that you learn to live with it.
There are many publicised campaigns regarding being more open about it if you are struggling. However, some people still feel they cannot because they fear losing their job to use one example. They may also fear the rebuke from workmates who just don’t have an understanding about what’s going on. Worst of all they may fear losing their old self, losing friends and family as well as their own understanding about where life is now going for them, they just become their ‘label’. Many of those suffering are doing so in silence because they are the ones supporting their families, putting food on their table and clothes on their back. Some are sole carers for their loved one and their salary is the only thing keeping that care in place. Therefore they become too scared of saying “I’m just not feeling too good…” in case they are labelled as someone who ‘can’t cope’ and now incapable of holding down their job role. Despite the fact they may have been ill for some time and managed to be fully productive and engaged in their work prior to a diagnosis. Mental illness still carries such a stigma that people feel there is no other way out of their nightmare.
When people finally feel strong enough to speak out, we know that in some areas the service doesn’t match the need. There has to be something in between where people feel they can open up safely and know they will be supported, maybe not understood completely, but supported. In the workplace, if someone is off having a baby they send flowers. If someone is in hospital recovering from an accident, heart attack or cancer to name but a few, they receive a get well card and flowers. If someone is off because they are mentally ill, perhaps hospitalised because they have had a breakdown, do we do the same for them?
If you notice that someone isn’t themselves for whatever reason, reach out to them. If they are in work and their productivity drops, they are not concentrating or making silly mistakes, don’t discipline before first asking “is everything ok”? There may be a valid reason for this. Having a little bit of an understanding into mental health and mental ill health will assist in supporting friends, loved ones or work colleagues.
Our brains are one of the many organs in our bodies but probably the most important one. Without it, none of the other organs in the body will work properly anyway and will ultimately fail. So why can we not place the same importance on it as we would our heart or lungs? We can say it’s because we can’t see it and therefore unable to understand it, but that’s not a good enough reason. We don’t understand fully how the cardiac, skeletal or respiratory system works fully but we accept that they do and need help to be fixed; well so does the brain. Only specialists need to know the exact intricacies of how that organ or system works but we can learn the basics.
Mental illness is as common as a cold and when we think we are floating around peacefully, enjoying the calm of life,thinking it won’t happen to me, something has a habit of creeping up and biting you in the bum. Wouldn’t it be great to have an insight into how this could happen, and learn skills to help ourselves or others if it does?
Mental Health First Aid can equip us as individuals or as employers keen to take care of the health & wellbeing of those who work hard to keep your business afloat.
If you want to invest in not only yours but their mental health, which will naturally increase productivity and therefore revenue, book a bespoke course. We can deliver a course at your workplace or you could send employees on our stand-alone course.
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