Let’s face it, the past two years have been a lot for everyone. The start of 2022 is a vital time to raise awareness for mental health services across the board.
But what does raising mental health awareness in the workplace actually mean? Is it going through a PowerPoint in the staff room that makes everyone tense up and look at the floor? Does it involve using terms such as ‘burnout’ and ‘stressors’ in hushed tones? In reality, it probably does, but any discussion around mental health should be welcomed. Following these talks, it’s important that we check in with our own mental health and consider how we can impact the wellbeing of those around us.
Reaching out to someone or checking in with a friend will do more good than you can imagine.
Raising Mental Health Awareness in 2022
- It’s Children’s Mental Health Week this week. A number of charities have created resources to support children and young people who might be struggling with their emotions.
- Throughout February, Mind is sharing a #TimeToTalk campaign providing resources that encourage communities to have conversations around mental health.
- The NHS has called for people to access Talking Therapies services. Just over 2 million people benefited from the service throughout the pandemic, whereas figures show that more than half of the UK population felt concerned about their mental health in 2021. This tells us that many more people could benefit from this service.
Mental Health Awareness in Health and Social Care
It’s particularly important to talk about wellbeing in health and social care as we tend to view mental health quite differently from physical health. Breaking your arm, catching a cold, twisting your ankle or developing heart disease are all very tangible conditions with recognisable symptoms. We accept them as the inevitable consequences of living. We then take time to treat these conditions and heal before resuming our day-to-day routines.
However, when we are feeling a bit down; or have a nagging sensation that things are not quite right; or wake up every morning feeling like the world isn’t a great place to be, far too many of us just ‘get on with it.’ We tell ourselves to ‘get over it’ and that things will calm down in time. But, what happens if they don’t?
Shouldn’t we also recognise mental health issues as natural ‘symptoms of living’ that are treatable?
‘I feel too drained to focus at work’; ‘I’m having negative thoughts every day and it’s affecting my relationships’; ‘I feel so anxious that it’s getting harder to get up and out of the house in the morning.’
These are examples of common mental health struggles that millions of people are affected by at least once in their lifetimes. They are ‘symptoms of living’ that are treatable. Depression and anxiety, however mild they might seem at first, can be soothed through talking, therapy, mindfulness and self-care.
If you are struggling or would like to speak with someone:
For further advice and mental health support:
- Generate your ‘mind plan‘ after taking a short interactive quiz using the NHS service ‘every mind matters.’
- Find advice and support from the Royal College of Nursing.
Making a Connection
It’s easy to put off checking in with that friend thinking we won’t know what to say. Or thinking, ‘Oh god, I haven’t text them back from 9 days ago, I can’t possibly message now!’ But sometimes the smallest decisions have the most positive outcomes. What brighter times may arise from the words, “I’m having a difficult time. Free for a walk?” or “Hey, how are you getting on this week? Coffee tomorrow?”
Recently, I’ve started checking in with a friend who lives very far away. Previously, we saw each other maybe once a year… Now, we have a half-hour chat on the way home from work every Friday. Invariably, one of us might be having a tricky week. Following the chat, we have listened to how the other has been feeling, shared some perspective and reassurance and found something to laugh about along the way.
Why not reach out and make a connection? Finding support or offering it could have a massive impact on your year.
- Wellbeing For Nurses
- Mindfulness & Meditation For Healthcare Professionals
- Five Strategies For Looking After Your Mental Health & Wellbeing