Look after yourself….

mentalhealthday-400x300WATC member Jennifer Corcoran

How many of you know that October 10th was ‘World Mental Health Day’?

World Mental Health Day is the annual global celebration of mental health education, awareness and advocacy.

Unfortunately in a supposedly progressive society it appears that the subject of mental health is still something of a taboo especially in the workplace.

In a recent article in HR magazine, mental health awareness campaigner Geoff McDonald commented on the disparity between physical and mental education.  To paraphrase we are all advised to go to the gym and keep physically active and fit so why not have spaces in workplaces where people can practice mindfulness for an hour or two?

It is estimated that 4 in 10 employees have suffered from stress, anxiety or depression and not told their employer.  It appears that the main concern for people is that their colleagues will associate mental health issues with incompetence and weakness and that it may damage their career prospects.

It is clear that we need more champions for mental health issues in the workplace and at board room level.

ITV are currently tackling the subject of depression in Coronation Street with the character of Steve McDonald being too embarrassed and ashamed to own up to his true feelings.

The typical response of any GP is to administer medication and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

It is estimated that 4 in 10 employees have suffered from stress, anxiety or depression and not told their employer.  It appears that the main concern for people is that their colleagues will associate mental health issues with incompetence and weakness and that it may damage their career prospects.

High risk cases are referred to specialist community health teams and problems can arise when people are ‘flagged’ in the system as you are then put under the radar and medication can be enforced. So it is no wonder that Steve’s character is treading lightly for now.

DSC00680Dr Joanna Moncrieff from University College London argues that most people recover from psychosis without medication. Joanna feels that anti-depressant medications are not effective in the long run and the best way to deal with mental illness is to eat and exercise well and ‘talk therapy’.

I lost a good friend to mental illness this past summer and would like to help working towards removing the stigma attached to this tragedy – we need to give this cause a louder voice and increase awareness and understanding.

I am sure that all of us have known someone affected at some stage in our lives so let’s start the dialogue………………….

Your mental health is just as important as your physical health.

Help Yourself. Help Others.

I would like to dedicate this blog to the beautiful and forever missed Katrina Browne RIP.

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