I think I owe a few people an apology!
So there’s me talking about mental health awareness in business, separately to my day job of advising major corporates regarding their resourcing, HR and HR technology change aspirations, with multiple Group HRD’s and Wellness Heads on the subject of how they support the tens, and hundreds, of thousands of employees they have responsibility over.
Then it struck me after a wellness professional, and separately an HRD, got in touch to invite me in to discuss mental health in their business, and during the business discussion they opened up to me about their own personal experiences.
It dawned on me (err hello Colin) that those ultimately responsible for ensuring the wellness and happiness of everyone working in their organisation, can also have challenges themselves. Obvious I know but not something I immediately considered. I suppose it’s like not knowing your parents have any worries or cares in the world until you witness something!
So taking a step back, this is also going to be true for business leaders. Obvious again, but it just goes to show the extent of how hidden this subject still is. It also brings up an interesting dynamic, that those charged with making a difference for many, might also need support themselves.
So who do they get to turn to? Is it harder for them to open up because of their leadership position? Could they be putting in initiatives for others but not leveraging them themselves? If so does this increase any difficulties they are experiencing?
I can’t answer for them/you, but until I opened up, because I chose to go independent and was no longer employed, I can almost guarantee that in my capacity as a Group Head of Resourcing and HR Systems, I would not have gone mainstream internally about my personal challenges, even if I was putting in support solutions for others.
Sad to say this, but it’s how I would have thought at the time because I have feared for being stigmatised my entire life, something that compounded my particular issues.
So back to the leaders above. I’m sorry. I’m sorry for immediately thinking of those you support over and above you personally. I’m sorry that you might experience a complete set of additional pressures and challenges because of the leadership situation you are in. I’m sorry you might not have someone available in the business to open up to.
But I/we can do something about this. We can open up! We are at the start of a time where this subject is both topical in our personal and business lives. I encourage you to open up if you can find the strength and right opportunity to do so. It was the biggest release for me, and from my own personal perspective it has only been positive.
I have met new people due to a common passion. I have found out new things about close friends, colleagues and customers, because they now have someone they can talk to about things they have buried deep. I have opportunities to talk about something other than end to end resourcing strategy, HR change and HR technology transformation, which is timely because the HR market is a little deflated at present. I have learned things and I have got a huge weight off my shoulders forever!
I am introducing my HERO Mental Health Readiness Model at three events in the next three weeks. It’s going to be extremely hard hitting and liberating. It’s going to be emotional because I know others in the room will either open up publicly, or privately to me afterwards. I know this from experience of delivering smaller, more intimate, workshops on the subject recently. It’s going to be enlightening for all.
This all constitutes me doing my bit to support knocking the stigma associated with mental health in the workplace out of sight. Join me, contact me, speak with me, let me speak to your teams, let me run diagnostics in your business.
Let’s all open up, so discussions about mental health become mainstream and comfortable for all, and conditions and availability of support improve.
Let’s Hide No More!
Have a great weekend everyone.