The Mental Challenge
Intro – The hood trap
It’s time to lift the hood. We have all experienced poor mental health, we all have had our down days, we all do. It’s time to lift the hood and look around and support each other, recognize that there is only one race that unites us, the human race and only one health issue that unites us and that is mental health. The fallacy that it is only you that suffers from mental health is a trap and is something we all share guilt in thinking, we all do. We often overlook these sorts of traps in society because we don’t climb out of traps, we fall into them.
This blog post is about how to get out the trap of mental health, avoiding the stigma, with some solid principles regarding tackling mental health in the workplace and of course the mental challenge.
This blog is dedicated to a close friend of mine. I was inspired to write this because I thought they ‘had it all’ a good job, more pay. I thought this was going to make them happier but this was not the case. At the time I didn’t understand how they can be depressed. This lack of understanding took me on my own journey to get a better understanding on Mental Health which led me to this blog called the Mental Challenge.Dedication
Curing Mental Health
It is important to highlight that this blog is not about a cure for mental health but to work with and not against it. The road to depression first goes through stress and then anxiety. Therefore it is important to be proactive as soon as possible. Below are some methods to help treat symptoms caused by mental health.
Ask for help
This can be easier said than done but it is important to reach out to find a confidant, a friend or a trusted colleague to flag as soon as possible you need help. As mentioned at the start of the blog, mental health struggle is something common to everyone.
Structure and routine
Structure and routine are important for mental health because it takes discipline and a willingness to put your mind to something and apply it on a regular basis, it protrudes serotonin in the body aka the happy chemical in our bodies. Starting a routine can be quite daunting but as a premise in this blog states, leveraging your interests is often a good place to start. You will then find as you follow a routine and stick to it, you tend to focus on the routine and structure rather than on your interests.
Mental Health in the workplace
Most of us work and often spend most of our time in a workplace, so it is important to highlight mental health in the workplace as more and more people recognize the truth that we all have experienced poor mental health and therefore it is important to highlight some helpful guidelines regarding how to tackle mental health.
Self help at work
Create a guide and share with a friend
This can be a set of bullet points to share with a close colleague or mental health first aider. This guide is made up of things that they should be aware of in your behaviour that could inform them that you are struggling with mental health.
Seek out knowledge
Knowledge is key. Check your organization’s intranet, use the internet to identify who you can call and what are the steps to help you when suffering from mental health and take notes.
Take the lunchbreak
How many of us are guilty of this? Working through the lunchbreak, eating at your desk. Take the lunchbreak, take a walk, read a book, take the hour back, it’s yours.
Personal responsibility is important when it comes to mental health, taking ownership is the start of taking control and starting that recovery process. When you have loads of deadlines, time constraints and you have been asked to do something else to add to your workload, try to take ownership of the situation and say, can I get back to you.
How to Champion Mental Health
This segment is for the managers, the senior-level employee’s in the workplace who want to champion mental health.
Be an active force in the campaign for mental health awareness and create a culture where it is acceptable to be open about mental health.
Share your story
Create a campaign where you share your mental health struggles from the perspective of leadership and the journey to leadership.
One of the main purposes of the internet is to enable connectivity and in turn flexibility, this means that the barriers which forced people to have to come into the office are no longer there, so working from home should be an option or at least there should be a mechanism in place if required.
Seek out information in your company via creating questionnaires to tackle the mental health issues and cultivate that information to a wider employee base via dashboards and act on that information.
Take mental health seriously
You wouldn’t tell someone with a broken leg to carry boxes up a flight of stairs nor should you expect someone suffering from mental health to act, think or be their usual self. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t there. One initiative to help start this process is having mental first aiders who will be the mental equivalent to a physical first aider.
The Mental Challenge
As stated, before mental health is something, we all go through and so I want to set the following challenge for when that time of mental health arises:
Take a moment to close your eyes, not in a quiet place but in a public place#thementalchallenge
The idea being you should be comfortable enough to recognize that mental health is a struggle we all go through and people will either react in solitude and join in or if not recognize the mental challenge we all go through and carry on with their life.
This blog is not about curing mental health, but it is about trying to help cope with mental health as much as possible and by having an awareness of it you can plan and recognize a mental health problem in the early stages. Things like structure i.e. finding a routine and being honest with someone and talking things through, all help towards coping with mental health.
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