It was set for this morning. The email had been sent yesterday, drafted while I was at a mental health conference for health and safety professionals being inspired by Prof. Tim Marsh and Alastair Campbell.

We all have mental health – ‘A Personal Story’

Hi All (UK TC)

We all need a sense of community, someone to talk to and to share our problems with.  This 2 minute video below shows just how important this is.

https://youtu.be/nyI1ivb-9pI

Two out of three people are said to have some experience of mental ill health during the course of their lives and by 2030 depression will be the leading cause of illness globally.

On Friday, for Mental Health Awareness Week, Steve Walter will be sharing his personal experience of breakdown and recovery as a basis for discussion.   We are pleased to be able to offer an opportunity for people to freely discuss mental health issues in the workplace.

If you would like to attend this half hour informal session, please feel free to come along to meeting room 1 on Friday at 10.30.

Signed, HR

And so I was committed, in more ways than one…

I’d drafted a PowerPoint to hide behind, well, just as a bit of structure, covering what we think of when we think of mental health (and several people responded with ‘depression’) and the WHO definition. Then the six main potential sources of stress: family, friends, finance, personality, work (on five fingers) and health (the centre of the palm) as my friend, Sayeed, has described.

And then I opened up into what happened from 1997 onwards, events, diagnoses. There were only six people there but they warmly accepted what I had to say and reflected their experience and one person encouraged me to consider DHA from Omega 3 tuna oil, lots of research showing benefits for bipolar.

I’d been under the mistaken belief that this discussion was for their benefit, but of course it was me that was feeling so relieved at having openly told my story in work time. Not to say that they were not grateful, they very kindly thanked me, and shared their experiences.

It was a big help for me to know that this was supported by the HR team. I could not have done it otherwise, and have not for 6 years, even though I’ve told my story at least twice in the local press, in that time.

It feels as if I am released from the chains of stigma I’d wrapped around myself. Odd considering all my previous conferences, workshops and Fringe events. But this felt even more real, admitting to my peers, colleagues, taking the risk, sharing in the moment.

Wherever I go now it will be an adventure…

 

Ted & Hazel at Highfield
Ted & Hazel at Highfield

 

Blog – Friday 12th May – A kind of coming out…

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