How often have we heard a colleague, friend, family member etc say that they were hesitant in having a conversation about their mental health condition with their boss or anyone else at the workplace? They are reluctant to approach even HR. Why is this the case? Unfortunately, there is a stigma and discrimination associated with mental health and the fear for many is that they will be viewed as being lazy, incapable, or simply don’t have what it takes to keep it together. If we look more closely, we will find that the stigmatisation arises from people who have made little or no attempt to understand mental illness.
In the past year, our mental state was tested to the limit as our world was turned on its head. We are still in the grips of a global pandemic, which has heightened our stress and anxiety levels to tipping point. Mental health challenges that we could barely manage in the past have been exacerbated with so many turning to coping mechanisms that are increasing our stress and anxiety levels. It is so fitting that mental health takes centre stage in the month of October. However, I strongly believe that mental health should always be important.
Previously, as we moved towards the end of the year, we all looked forward to a break from the workplace so that we could energise and spend time with family and friends. Now, this need has escalated as there are many who are exhausted and burnt out due to working from home and suffering from digital fatigue as well as general fatigue.
A work colleague confided in me about her mental health issues. She was the most “put together” person I worked with on a really challenging project – structured, healthy, and always striving to be one step ahead in her work and personal life. This always held her in good stead, and she thrived. Then COVID-19 came along, and she found herself seeking professional help. She couldn’t cope with the pressure of working from home, managing her family life, and maintaining a balanced life. Her finances were impacted as she was helping other family members, and this led to the disruption of her marriage. She saw herself as being stuck at home with all these issues. I suggested that she remove the word stuck and replace it with something else, like secure at home and that her family members regarded her as dependable. It wasn’t going to be forever, just until they got back on their feet – which in turns out they did.
Financial stress is a huge contributor to mental health issues. Growth in Motion is fortunate to be collaborating with a well-known personality Sonja Herholdt who is very transparent about her personal financial challenges and provides some key points on how one can achieve financial freedom in this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMxR7CQvoxU&t=11s
The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) https://www.sadag.org/
have many helpful events lined up for this month with articles, expert advice, and insights on how to manage our stress and anxiety, where to get help and how to support those around whose mental state has taken a knock.
Our minds are powerful! Let’s fill it with positive thoughts followed by positive actions. I know it can be difficult, but baby steps with tiny modest well-planned initiatives will get us through the rough patches.