Tuesday 10 October 2017 marks World Mental Health Day 2017, an opportunity for us all to reflect on our own mental health, to consider what life challenges and events may be impacting on us, and to offer support to those who may be struggling with their own mental health.
We all have mental health. But just as our bodies can become unwell or injured, so too can our minds. And when we have poor mental health, this can present itself in many different ways. We may experience more anxiety than we have been used to. We may start to have panic attacks. We might feel that our mood is lower than usual for a longer time, which might mean that we’re starting to experience depression. And there are a number of other, different, ways that poor mental health can show itself in us.
At a time when suicide remains one of the biggest killers of men under the age of 45 in the UK, it is important that we all reflect on our mental health, and how life’s ups and downs can affect our ability to have good and balanced mental health.
The theme of this year’s World Mental Health Day is Workplace Wellbeing. A large number of us will spend at least one third of our day in the workplace, and so it is vital that we reflect upon how our working lives can affect our ability to have a good balance in our mental health.
Here are our top tips for looking after your mental health in the workplace:
1) Talk to your employer or a trusted colleague if you feel that a mental health challenge is getting in the way of carrying out your work
There is nothing worse than the anxiety that comes from hiding a mental health condition, and the fear that an employer or colleague will find out and will judge you harshly. This will only create more anxiety within you. Talk to a trusted colleague or Manager and you will probably find that you will be met with kindness and compassion. An understanding employer will also make sure that the right adjustments are made to support you and to allow you to do your job well.
In addition, it’s important to feel that you can talk to someone if you feel you aren’t coping with the amount of work you have to do. Trying to do it all yourself will only heighten your anxiety, and an understanding Manager will help make sure you receive the support you need to complete your work.
2) Take regular breaks to recharge your batteries
It’s important for us all to take time away from our desks and computers to recharge our batteries. Even better still, why not go for a walk on your tea and / or lunch break? Research has shown that physical activity, including walking, can help reduce rates of depression and anxiety.
3) Keep a ‘To-do’ list
Not only will doing this keep you organised and remove any anxiety about remembering and getting through all the tasks you need to do on a particular day, but the sense of satisfaction you will get from crossing each item off your list when it’s been completed will help you create a good sense of mental wellbeing.
4) Connect with your colleagues
A sense of connection is vital for good mental health, and in the workplace we are surrounded by colleagues to whom we can connect, and in turn, improve our own mental wellbeing. Having a chat with a colleague in person or over the phone instead of by email, asking how someone’s weekend was and really listening, grabbing a chat over your tea break and taking time to find out how someone is are all excellent ways of creating a sense of connection and boosting your own mental wellbeing.
Of course, for some of us, there will be times when our mental wellbeing won’t be as good as we either expect or hope it to be, and we will sometimes require a little bit of extra support to help get our mental health back into good shape.
There are a range of mental health organisations, both locally and nationally, who can help at times when you feel you might be struggling. These are listed below:
FDAMH – Falkirk’s Mental Health Organisation
Telephone: 01324 671 600
Falkirk and Central Scotland Samaritans
Telephone: 01324 622 066 or 116 123
Action in Mind (Stirling)
Telephone: 01786 451 203
Telephone: 0800 83 85 87
For urgent health advice when your doctor’s practice is closed, on telephone number 111