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mental health day in the workplace

Why Every Day Should be Mental Health Day in the Workplace

The future of working environments

“With the resources available, we can change the way mental health is stigmatised in the workplace…”

With World Mental Health Day just around the corner, Harriet Venn, Mental Health Ambassador, explores the vision for the future of mental health in the workplace.

If we encourage every business, charity, organisation and school to educate individuals in mental health then together we will create the foundations of a revolutionised world whereby employees are encouraged to open up and to support one another. 

There is nothing more daunting than going into work and feeling as though you must put on a brave face. In this modern world, there is now no need to feel this way!

With the resources available, we can change the way mental health is stigmatised in the workplace…

Let’s visualise a typical day for most people suffering with mental health issues…

The alarm goes off and its like a trigger

The feeling of dread dawns on you, you have to face reality and deal with another day that feels like you have a grey cloud over your head. You keep snoozing the alarm clock hoping that the pain of the day will disappear like the noise. Eventually, the alarm beats you and you sit up in bed with that numb feeling. No energy, no hope, no light at the end of the tunnel. Part of you wants to call in sick as you do not feel strong enough to cope with and face the day ahead. You feel anxious about how people will perceive you if you display any signs of mental health problems at work.

Sometimes, this feeling wins and you call in sick with an excuse

Sometimes you manage to convince yourself to get out of bed and go to work, even though deep down it feels like the biggest hurdle you have got to jump today. You spend time getting ready and mentally preparing yourself to act normal. You say to yourself “come on you’ll be fine” and “its not that bad” and “people suffer with more severe issues why am I finding things so hard”. The truth is mental health is a battle itself. Even the smallest thing can feel like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders. On the way to work you break down in tears. You don’t feel as though you can do it. Racing thoughts repeatedly scurry through your mind and make you feel drained and exhausted before the working day has even begun. You arrive at work… You walk in smiling, laughing, joking, like the happiest person there is.

This is where the root of the problem is

Why should we pretend we’re ok? Why is openly admitting you’re not ok so daunting? Why do we feel we have to mask our issues? Why do we feel guilty for ‘wasting’ work time by talking about and sharing our struggles? 

"Why should we pretend we’re ok? Why is openly admitting you’re not ok so daunting?"

The saying “you never know what’s going on behind closed doors” is applicable here because you never know what is going on in people’s minds. The happiest person is typically the saddest.

We as a nation have become so well at concealing our problems and hiding our struggles because the stereotype of someone battling with mental health issues is viewed as a weakness or that there is ‘something wrong’ with that person.

We have the resources to implement and sustain a change to the stigma of mental health in the workplace, so let’s all use them…

Imagine going to work and feeling down but knowing you can openly admit that you are not ok - that you are down and struggling?

Imagine knowing your colleague with Counselling Skills or training in Mental Health First Aid will sit, listen, support and not judge you while you open up and confide in them. Imagine the reassurance you feel when they say it’s normal to feel like this, that anyone going through that would find it hard. Knowing you can go to work and feel safe to openly admit when you’re down is the future of working environments.

Knowing you can go to work and feel safe to openly admit when you're down is the future of working environments.

Let’s also visualise a working environment where we ask each other ‘’are you really ok?’’

Let’s ask these probing questions, let’s listen to each other. You might think you are hiding your mental health battle well but if a colleague is educated in Mental Health Problems, then they may be able to spot the signs and symptoms. You start to withdraw and become increasingly quiet. Your appearance becomes less pristine. You’ve lost your appetite. If your colleague spots these signs and asks if you are really ok you are more likely to open up and confide in them as you know it is coming from a place of care.

One day at work you seem to be struggling a lot more than usual. The overwhelming sensations and emotions lead to heart palpitations and cause you to struggle to breathe. You feel abnormal, your chest is tight, you start to have a panic attack. 

Your colleague spots this and takes you into a quiet room just the two of you. They know exactly what to do to assist you in this moment. They calm you down, reassure you, provide you with help and support during this frightening moment. They do not judge you; it is normal for panic attacks to occur. But because they were trained in Mental Health First Aid, they were able to help and make you feel safe.

We do not need these circumstances to be imaginary

Everyone of all hierarchies is and will be affected by mental health. We need to make work a place people can go to and express their worries, stresses and sadness. We need to facilitate the change by educating all staff about mental health in the workplace.

We need to make work a place people can go to and express their worries, stresses and sadness.

Our free courses provide the education that is required to change the stigma associated with mental health…

Our goal and passion at Free Courses in England and Free Staff Training are to create a future that promotes employee wellbeing.

We are no longer a simple cog in the system, we are HUMAN BEINGS.

Let’s work together and be the driving force that revolutionised the way mental health is negatively viewed.

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Help raise awareness and make every day, Mental Health Day in your workplace…

Fully funded mental health training courses for organisations of all sizes

harriet venn, partnership manager and mental health ambassador of free courses in england and free staff training

Harriet Venn

Harriet Venn, Partnership Manager and Mental Health Ambassador of Free Courses in England and Free Staff Training

'Why Every Day Should be Mental Health Day in the Workplace'
About the Author...

Harriet believes that “mental health is a very misunderstood topic. Even to this day, the stigma around mental health is still prevalent and preventing people from opening up. Individuals are still suffering in silence and this needs to change! Lets educate ourselves, change the stigma and normalise conversations about mental health.“

Harriet joined Free Courses in England in early 2021 with a passion to educate the masses and influence change regarding mental health. Harriet works with multiple businesses, schools, organisations and charities, providing them access to our free mental health courses to encourage employee wellbeing and support.

Lets educate ourselves, change the stigma and normalise conversations about mental health....

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