We’ve all seen the campaigns, the posters, and the message behind these:
“If you’re struggling with your mental health, reach out to someone for support.”
This is undoubtedly important, but a massive part of this message is missing, which is:
“Reach in with offerings of support to others.”
Throughout our lifetime, we expect to get a cold, headaches, and tired periods. We might rest, take some medication and even alter aspects of our lifestyle. However, there continues to persist a stigma that personal and professional factors will not impact our mental health. This is not the case.
Like physical health, we all have mental health. Most people generally accept they will become stressed on occasion and even anxious. This is natural and an indication our brain is working as it should. However, can we recognise in ourselves or those close to us personally and professionally when a usual amount of stress tips into something more challenging to manage.
When you say, “How are you?” is this a greeting, or are you making the space and time to listen to what the response might be?
When our mental health is compromised, most people try to downplay its severity or withdraw from others, for many reasons. Organisations can be places that actively reduce the stigma of mental health and break down its associated myths. They can be environments that optimise the mental healthiness of their workforce. Over the past two years, hybrid working has skyrocketed. While this practically can be a safer and more convenient way to work, it can sever connection with colleagues. There are limited chances to check in with others; while making a coffee, at the printer, walking down the corridor, or in a shared office.
The onus isn’t exclusively on the organisation to create these opportunities; it’s on all of us to reach in and connect with others. For example, when you say, “how are you?” is this a greeting, or are you making the space and time to listen to what the response might be. If someone doesn’t seem themselves, check in with them afterward. As the global pandemic situation continues to change and organisations adapt, many feel fearful. The biggest antidote to fear is the connection with ourselves and others. Take time to check in with yourself, and reach in and connect with others. For some, it will be life changing and possibly lifesaving.