In Headtorch WORKS, our dramatic e-learning programme, we follow Matt’s story. At the Doctor, he says:
“Doctor I can’t go back. Work’s calling me all the time. I didn’t want to tell them about my bouts of anxiety and depression. I’d been managing it well…”
In an unsupportive culture at work it can seem impossible to speak up about mental ill-health. Stigma has a lot to answer for. The dictionary defines it as,
+ a mark of disgrace or infamy; a stain or reproach, as on one’s reputation.
+ a mental or physical mark that is characteristic of a defect or disease.
Okay so let’s set some things straight here. It’s well known that 1 in 4 of us will have a mental health problem at some point in our lives. Surely this normality can’t make a quarter of the population, at any one time, marked as a disgrace, as defected or diseased?! How about we redefine the definition of stigma?
STIGMA = IGNORANCE
100% OF US HAVE MENTAL HEALTH just as we have physical health, and this can change day to day, week to week – understanding this means that there’s every reason to stamp out stigma at work. So what are the antidotes or defined antonyms to stigma.
In an APPROVING and RESPECTFUL culture that cares it could have been different for Matt. He could have had the self-ESTEEM to speak up about his ‘bouts of anxiety and depression’. To HONOUR his needs, everyone would have had the confidence to support Matt, to ask him open questions, to listen with empathy. These are behaviours worth PRAISING, giving CREDIT for looking out for each other.
This kind of culture creates a sense of PRIDE at work, increasing engagement and productivity, retaining talented staff – everyone, including the reputation of the business, BENEFITS. What’s not to EXALT about that?
Are your ANTIDOTES in place? What are you doing to promote them, to create a culture that cares in your workplace?
Martin Stepek on Mental Health
“I don’t like the term “mental health” because it usually means a lack of mental health. I love a story about the Buddha’s view. He said there are many people who go through their entire life in good physical health, but very few people are mentally healthy even for a moment. That raises the bar […]
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“Mental health for me means being able to remain calm and focused when under pressure, while maintaining a sense of perspective whether things are going well or not so well. It’s about being able to bounce back when faced with a difficult challenge. It’s about connection with family and friends, celebrating their success and achievements. […]
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