Thursday February 5 is Time to Talk Day – an initiative by Time to Change to get people talking about mental health at work.
Virtually all research around mental health shows that victims should not simply tough it out and build up resilience, but should seek external help. Sadly though, this has not crept into the workplace. Many would rather keep their troubles bottled up than confide in a colleague, for fear of embarrassment or showing weakness. I know from my own experience, that it took my team to approach me for me to break out of a depressive spiral, not the other way around. In my depressed, disengaged state, I had become suspicious of everyone at work, despite them actually being well-meaning, good-natured people.
In the past, mental illness was believed to be caused by sins, weakness, or demons, and though many would now be unlikely to blame the devil for a bout of depression, the stigma that sufferers are responsible for their own mental health has persisted. With promotions to be gained and office cred to be established, it can be difficult to answer the daily “How are you?” with “Well, not okay really…”
Time to Talk Day is important because it puts the onus on the confidant. It calls for employees to take five minutes out of their day to have a conversation about mental health, to approach their co-workers and open up a dialogue that is so often a taboo in the work environment.
Time to Change are offering an online option too, should you wish to talk anonymously.
Mental health will be a major theme at the Symposium Health @ Work Summit 2015.