Alastair Majury on Mental Health in the Workplace
It would appear that in the UK in 2016 that the media are taking mental health more seriously. With May hosting the official Mental Health Awareness week in the UK, now is as good time as any to write a post on mental health with a focus on depression, and how that relates to the workplace.
This will be a collection or articles and presentations that I have found elsewhere on LinkedIn and grouped together for your convenience.
First is a presentation on understanding Mental Health & Mental Illness.
Second is a presentation on Depression Treatment.
Now onto some of the articles that are available from LinkedIn, the LinkedIn Pulse community are surely a talented and informative bunch of people!
An excerpt is as follows:
Discrimination or the stigma toward mental health is well known and frequently talked about. Many times, we talk about a topic or idea of interest and we do not adequately define or provide specific examples of what the problem really is. I believe this is very true with the stigma toward mental health. For example, what does “stigma” really mean, what is the actual problem and how do we take action to stop it?
You might have noticed that I used the word “mental health” rather than “mental illness.” To me, the term mental illness is misleading and does not adequately describe what a psychological or mental health problem/disorder is. Also, I believe that individuals may be suffering from mental health problems but not meet the full criteria for a disorder so that is why I use the term mental health problems/disorders in this article.
Second article is Mental Health: Something Businesses Can Do by Nancy Lublin where she shares five suggestions as to what businesses can do to help with Mental Health. The five tips are:
- Offer good mental health benefits for my employees. Sound expensive? I’m sure that offering good health packages to my employees costs us a lot of “overhead” funds — but it’s the smart thing to do. It means I have healthy, productive people. Replacing an employee costs a lot more.
- Remind your employees what the heck their mental health benefits are! Confession: I didn’t know until this morning. So I asked. And then I emailed it to my entire team.
- Valentine’s Day is a holiday at DoSomething.org. That’s right. I encourage everyone to spend it with someone they love, even if that means taking their dog for a long walk or bringing a cup of soup to a neighbour.
- Toto Tuesday. Our CTO started playing their (one) big hit on a loop on Tuesday afternoons. So every week at 5pm we bless the rains down in Aaaafricaaa for an hour. And then we turn the lights off and leave. He essentially smokes us out of the office with that song. It’s the one night of the week when people must leave, get out of the office and head to the gym or have dinner with friends or just go home and sleep.
- After two years working here full-time, employees are eligible for a 1 month paid sabbatical to volunteer anywhere in the world, as long as you agree to sign up for another year full-time. Our CMO recently went to rural Kenya to teach soccer to girls. Our Director of Finance just returned from a month teaching in India. We’ve had 6 people take sabbaticals — and each one returned with terrific perspective on the job, their life, etc.
Next series of articles will focus on Depression.
First up is Depression @ Work by Doug Winnie.
An excerpt from which is:
For years, depression has been something that has always been in the back of my mind. I have been treated for it from time to time, but it has become more acute recently due to a lot of external reasons. Between my therapist retiring, significant changes at work, a recent injury to my husband, upheaval in my family, and fluctuation in my weight loss, it has all piled on at the same time, and I’m trying to dig my way out.
As an individual, these alone are hard enough, but at work, and as a manager, it transforms a normal workday to one of complete exhaustion and fatigue. Not because I don’t want to work — far from it. It is that the effort that goes into something that was once automatic is so much greater, exponentially greater, that a typical day of meetings and discussions exhausts me so that when I get home, all I want to do is go to bed.
Next up is Hi, I’m James and I have depression by James Saker with a UK experience (and helpful links) on depression.
An excerpt of which is as follows:
The number of people standing up and talking about the condition and how it impacts them has made me feel more comfortable opening up. Mental health is a complex and tricky topic to navigate — I’m no expert — so this post is focussed on my own experiences and these may not reflect the experiences of others.
In 2013 after ignoring the signs for years, thinking that other things were impacting on my mood, teenage hormones etc… I was diagnosed with Unipolar depression. The key characteristics of the illness are prolonged — ordinarily several months — of low mood, low self esteem and a lack of interest/pleasure in normally enjoyable activities. Unipolar depression is physiological in nature, so unlike trauma based depression, there is no clear source of the depressive episode.
Last article on depression with respect to depression at work and that is Career Curveballs: The Year I Was Diagnosed with Depression by T. Boone Pickens.
An excerpt from which is:
Entrepreneurs tend to develop a sense of infallibility, but all too often they neglect their personal lives and their mental health. They don’t allow themselves time to relax or recharge. They don’t work out or watch what they eat. Physical and mental health problems will bring you down just as easily as other factors. I clearly had let something slip. I had ratcheted down into depression and never realized what was happening. Now I had hit bottom.
Final article is Understanding Depression Treatment by Mamta Tiwari, which a brief summary of which is:
There are many treatment for depression, and this will cover 4 that are the most common and most widely supported by research.
And if Mental Health of your colleagues and employees as applicable isn’t a good enough reason to support good Mental Health, then remember from my Eight Tips To Improve Productivity that Psychological Safety is important to improving how productivity a team is.
And the company where I suffered from Discrimination: Reverse Ageism and has a culture that does not promote Psychological Safety, it is well known throughout the industry that its Cost/Income ratio much higher than its peers, so can impact the bottom line as well.
What did you think?
Are you aware of any other good LinkedIn articles or presentations that are worth sharing? If so please link to them in the comments.
If you enjoyed reading this please read some of my recent LinkedIn articles.
Alastair Majury resides locally in Dunblane, and is an IT Consultant working across the country. Alastair is also a volunteer officer at the local Boys’ Brigade company, a charity which focuses on enriching the lives of children and young people, and building a stronger community.