We were privileged to be joined by 3 very ‘real’ people at our annual business breakfast hosted by UBS this year to mark Mental Health Awareness Week.
We talked of the leaps and bounds that have been made in the arena of mental health which has been accelerated by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Happy and Heads Together.
However we wanted to get to the nitty gritty of the impact it had on the workplace. Are people being as open there?
There were 4 stand out issues for me:
- We all have mental health and physical health except most of us know how to look after ourselves physically.
- Listen – it is not always about having the answers. It is knowing when to listen. Using our two ears and one mouth proportionally.
- Just because you are in a senior role, it doesn’t make mental health easier to talk about. Our mental health should not be seen as a weakness. Until we get to the point that all staff can talk about their mental health in the same way as they talk about their physical health we have not done enough.
- Dream Team – everyone needs a Dream Team; a group of people who you can turn to and just give the sign that you are struggling. No-one else needs to know but your Dream Team will have your back. Whether you are part of someone’s Dream Team or need to put together a Dream Team, this was a powerful message taken from the breakfast.
And a story to end:
Harry was walking to work as usual when he fell down a hole. He looked around, it was dark and he couldn’t see a way out.
He looked up; just as his doctor, Christian, walked past.
“Hey Doc, I’m down here, can you help me out?” he called.
The doctor said, “of course”, he pulled out a prescription pad, prescribed some medication and threw it down to Harry. Noting that this was the 65 millionth anti-depressant script written this year.
A little while later; Harry saw his colleague, peering into the hole. Harry shouted, “hey Brad, I’m down here. Can you help me out?”
“Sure, give me a minute.” He soon came back with a rope ladder, fed it down, secured the top and headed back.
Harry didn’t use the ladder.
Eventually; Harry’s friend walked past. Harry shouted, “hey Stephen, I’m down here, can you help me out?”
Stephen said, “of course” and jumped down into the hole.
Harry said, “thank you, but why did you do that? Now we’re both down here.”
Stephen said, “yes, except I’ve been here before, and I know the way out.”
It’s increasingly difficult to find ways out of the hole. It takes courage to call out, and it takes courage to help. That’s the Dream Team.