Talking about Mental Health

I’ve been reading various articles about Simone Bile and her decision to leave the Olympics to focus on her mental health. The comments are quite telling. Some are very supportive, applauding her honesty in sharing her challenges and putting her own needs first. Others, have been quite critical, with the suggestion that these ‘things’ should be managed in private.

Had Simone had a physical injury the response would have been different, with little coverage of her Olympic exit.

I spoke to someone this morning who had been working 10-12 hour days for the last year on about 6 hours sleep. Unsurprisingly, this gruelling routine had left them with chronic anxiety and constant fatigue. Currently on sick leave, they told me that they’d handed in their notice as they felt such shame about the situation. I wouldn’t have believed them had I not done something similar five years ago.

Although we are talking about mental health more openly the stigma is deeply rooted. We need to continue this discussion. We also need to be educating people (children) to care for their mind as much as their physical body. We all know how important it is to eat well and exercise often but there’s no expectation set in terms of our responsibility to care for our mind. The frustrating thing is that it’s actually quite simple and just a few techniques, carried out daily along with a better understanding of how our mind works can make a big difference.

I talk often about feelings with my kids. I like to think that if they were feeling low they could tell me as easily as if they had a twisted ankle.

So, today, how are you feeling? I don’t want to hear “fine”. How are you really feeling? I am interested. I wouldn’t ask if I wasn’t.

On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is ‘despair’ and 10 is ‘elation’, where are you now? If you’re anything below a 4 then it’s time to get help.

You can:

  • Speak to someone close.
  • Contact your line manager.
  • Access the Employee Assistance Program at work.
  • Speak to your GP.
  • Seek support from a charity like Mind
  • Contact someone like me

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