We recently listened to an interview with Geoff McDonald on CNBC (can be viewed here: https://www.cnbc.com/video/2018/08/17/musk-should-take-time-out-to-focus-on-mental-health-campaigner-says.html ) talking about whether Companies should employ people who have disclosed mental health concerns.
This reminds us about the perceptions of people regarding mental health and those who have had mental health issues. Last week our blog focused on 'leadership and resilience' and the importance of leadership modelling resilience in the workplace. The need to prioritise mental health and wellbeing in employees sits at the feet of the leadership team, but awareness is key for every employee.
Most Companies have health and safety policies in place, but how many of these include mental health and wellbeing policies? The interview by Geoff has reminded us that in order for employees to be productive and for workplaces to thrive, there needs to be mindful practice of physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Given the amount of time people spend at work, it is impossible to delegate 'wellbeing' care to home life. The onus has to fall on the workplace to provide input into these areas in order to create the energy and sense of purpose that each employee needs.
So how is this done?
More and more organisations are starting to understand the real value in taking care of the 'whole' employee which includes physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Mental Health First Aiders are being trained, leadership teams are being brought on board and networking is taking place to prioritise these issues (eg http://www.mindsatworkmovement.com/).
It is up to each person who has a position of leadership to role model openness and acceptance of questions and concerns around mental health or emotional wellness. To be frank and transparent when it comes to their own personal stress and wellbeing. To not hide behind facades and stigmas but to join the world of reality that so many of us live in - that life is hard at times, stressful and unkind. If leaders are able to voice their own challenges this shows strength as much as their ability to cope with adverse situations.
For each employee the responsibility then rests on you to say something. To put your hand up and say 'I need some help' - just as you would if you broke your leg. Hopefully with more talk in workplaces, plus a bit more realism from leadership it may open up a whole new range of conversations and corporate cultures that will keep the tide of talking about mental health moving forward.