Although the world has come a long way in recent years with advocating for mental health, it’s often still a taboo subject.
You’ve only got to scroll on social media for a few minutes to see a quote about mental health, but it’s just that, a quote. Even with the huge advances made in respect of mental health awareness, we still find it being pushed to the backseat and not given the importance it deserves.
The workplace is often a culprit for neglecting the mental health of its staff. There is such a huge pressure on being productive and going full out all day every day to get through the workload. The problem is that this is often at the cost of our mental health. The human body is not made to be constantly working without sufficient downtime, and the human mind can be even more fragile at times. There is a significant amount of room for improvement in the workplace when it comes to mental health awareness and treating mental health illness in the same way as we would approach it physical health issues.
Why Is It So Important?
Unless we show visible signs of being unwell, we are usually deemed fit to work. However, most people who are feeling down or emotionally unwell will try to hide it. Mental health has a stigma that physical health does not have; it’s not unusual to see it classed as ‘attention seeking’ or sometimes even ‘laziness’. This needs to change. Mental health matters. If you had had a bad accident and were in a lot of physical pain then you wouldn’t be expected to come to work. But if you are in severe emotional pain or distress there is the expectation that you should just “get over it” and “pull yourself together”.
People Suffer in Silence
As we said above, people will suffer in silence. Rather than risk being judged, people prefer to bottle up their feelings and try to push through. The truth is this seldom works.
We all know the saying “there’s always someone worse off than you”, but although that may be true, it doesn’t take away from your struggle. Everyone has a right to feel what they feel, and those feelings are important. We need to advocate for the importance of speaking up and expressing how you feel. Even the smallest feeling of being overwhelmed or stressed is something that matters and something that should be recognised. Some companies have even adopted a policy where they offer their staff free mental health days, no explanation needed. We need to see this more – people should come first.
Recognising Mental Health Challenges
We’ve already mentioned the importance of challenging the stigma that mental health is faced with, but it’s also important to bring awareness. Without awareness, how are we to be able to understand or even recognise when someone is facing a challenge with their mental health? The hardest battles you face are often the ones that no one else can see. Added to this is the fact that some people might not feel comfortable themselves about disclosing their mental health challenges. It’s up to us as people, as a community, to recognise the struggles that our fellow humans go through when their mental health is challenged.
What Can You Do to Protect Your Mental Health?
You can never fully protect yourself against struggling with your mental health, but there are steps you can take to safeguard it. These steps can be as simple as going for a walk or watching your favourite TV show. Or how about doing something every day that makes you happy, even if it’s just for a few minutes? What we’re talking about here is self-care. Sometimes just removing yourself from challenges such as bright lights, noise, and uncomfortable clothing can have a huge effect on how you are feeling and how prepared you are to deal with difficult situations.