21 Jan Let’s talk about mental health in a healthy way
Did you know that 7thFebruary is Time to Talk Day 2019?
It is a day when we can get together and be more open about our mental health. It is a day to talk, to share stories, to listen, to support each other and to change lives.
It is so important to talk about our mentalhealth in a healthy way. Too often our conversations about mental health focus on the signs of poor mental health. That’s important – but what about the health part? Unfortunately, it is often lost and forgotten – and that’s a real missed opportunity.
So, if you are planning to start a conversation about mental health at your workplace, make sure it answers the following three questions:
- IS IT HEALTH-AFFIRMING?
As mentioned above, understanding the symptoms of mental health problems is vital but it needs to be placed in a context that is health-affirming. The aim of a conversation about mental health is to help people reconnect with and access their innate health.
In the midst of my own personal experience of burnout, I realised one very important thing: at our core we are all innately healthy, resilient and whole. I realised that we are never broken, even though we may feel broken and low at times. And yes, it is ok to feel like that from time to time. In fact, it is completely natural to feel like that – it happens to everyone. But this fact does not diminish in any way the healthy, unbreakable whole part of us all.
Helping people, to connect with and access this inner part that is alive in each and every one of us is key when supporting people to live healthier and happier lives.
- IS IT GROWTH-ENHANCING?
Going through depression, anxiety or burnout is certainly not easy but many people who have suffered from one of these conditions often say that it was one of the most growth-enhancing experiences of their lives. I completely agree with that. Why? Because going through difficult times in my life taught me a lot about myself. It actually helped me to understand who I really am. Difficulty propelled me to start living from a fresh perspective in a completely new way – with less stress and more ease, and with clarity, wellbeing and fulfilment.
And that’s exactly what I see when I work with clients who experience stress and burnout. Going through a difficult time is like going through a growth spurt. Growing pains are part of it!
I want people to know that struggles are part of life and they don’t mean we are weak. They only point to places in our lives where we need to grow and learn to become wiser, stronger and more resilient.
- IS IT ABOUT DEVELOPING REAL CONNECTIONS?
Too many presentations on mental health are a bit dry. There – I’ve said it! I’ve seen people walk out of training rooms feeling a bit deflated, repeating ‘1 in 4’ statistics and trying to memorise conditions with intricate signs and symptoms. But for me, talking about mental health is about more than that. It is about coming together, sitting side by side and sharing our lives. It is about seeing each other, listening to one another and learning from each other.
The real purpose of talking about mental health is coming together and feeling connected. That’s what most of us want and, funnily enough, that is what is helpful and healing in itself. We are all part of one family – the human family. Feeling connected is our birthright.
Wishing you many great conversations!