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Who’s the Gold Medal winner?

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Simone Biles pulled out of the Olympics due to her mental health.

She felt able to speak up and speak out publicly.  This is a great day to celebrate her ability to be open and to say (sic), “No, I’m not feeling well so I need to stop and look after myself.”

Is this something you can do in your workplace?

We know it’s certainly not always the case.  Often this is because the culture is unsupportive, driven only by increased productivity and targets – an environment where mental health is not a strategic priority.

Here’s the thing, if you’ve only got robots in your workforce, ‘on yersel’, as we say here in Scotland.  You’ll probably be fine … for a while.

Human beings on the other hand, are complex, creative and contrary.  It’s the breadth and range of qualities that we bring to work that needs to be celebrated, encouraged and above all, nurtured.

Yes, it’s great that Simone felt able to take responsibility but it should never have come to that.  The system ain’t right if athletes are reaching the Olympics without the mental health support that they deserve.  Equal emphasis needs to be given to both physical and mental fitness.

The same is true in any workplace.  We need a revolution in which leaders make mental health a strategic priority.  This means managers are upskilled and confident to have supportive conversations.  This results in normalising the changes in our mental health. This creates a proactive culture.

Most of us aren’t medics or counsellors and that’s ok.  At work, we’re not there to solve someone’s mental health issues but to listen, show empathy and care.  It’s about doing the right thing because we all know, that if we’re pushed too far it can lead to burn-out and then who’s the winner?

How are you making mental health the Gold Medal winner… every time?

 

Photo thanks: Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

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