This week is Mental Health Awareness Week which gives many of us interested in the subject the opportunity to talk about this critical issue.
But what is mental health and how does it affect us? Recently, I have become much more attuned to everyday things that affect my mental health. While there are many psychologically classified mental health illnesses that thankfully are getting more publicity if not funding. These are often serious long term mental health issues that require the help of psychiatrists, psychologists and sadly frequently the use of drugs.
I am talking about how we are affected by the smaller niggles and irritations that go a long way to directly affect the state of your mental health. We operate in a zone sometimes strong and independent but often jarred by criticism and comments. If we accept that physically we are rarely 100% then it is reasonable to agree that we are rarely mentally 100% fit.
When I had a job and worked in a major PLC there were so many small everyday actions that affected how I felt. On one occasion, I remember being shouted at by manager, not just a raised voice but a full-on shout. I was stunned, shocked and felt just a little beaten up. Even today, several years later I can remember how I felt and reacted.
While few of us are shouted at everyday we are at work, we all suffer from criticism, teasing, jibes and ‘office humour’. I have witnessed people crumble under the pressure of continuous criticism. Bulling is never tolerated when identified but low level continuous comments and jibes slowly wears you down. Like having a stone in your running shoes, it gets harder and harder to compete.
So, if comments can wear people down, surely, we can learn that every interaction we have with our staff or within the organisation can affect their wellbeing. Saying ‘hello’ to the receptionist and remembering their name is no longer just polite, it enhances their day. It is your duty to remember their name and make them feel better.
So, in Mental Health Awareness Week, I ask that everyone thinks about the affect they are having on their partners, children, employees, team and even their bosses.
Small actions make an enormous difference and ultimately you will get the results you want.