Recently in the press, we read of a great example set by a boss in America who demonstrated his concern and compassion for the mental well health of one of his employees.
The question is, in your present work environment, if you contacted your boss with a migraine, back ache etc, is that likely to be more acceptable than calling in to explain that you are finding things difficult to cope with, and need a couple of days to work things out.
My guess, is that taking the second example, eyes would be rolled, accusations of 'swinging the lead' or 'being idle' would spring to mind. Let's just look at the impact of mental health for a moment though, here are a few statistics which may well shock you...
- 676 million people worldwide are affected by mental health issues
- 1 in 4 adults in England have been diagnosed with a mental illness
- The Chief Medical Officer in 2014 estimated the cost to the UK economy to be £70-£100 billion per year
- Suicide is the most common cause of men aged 20-49
- You are more likely to encounter someone seriously considering suiciding than you will someone having a heart attack (yet we see defibrillators popping up all over the place, but only a few pointers to mental health support)
- 75% of diagnosable mental illness receive no treatment at all
- You are twice as likely to be struck by lightning as being killed by a stranger who is mentally ill (so now you can ignore the sensationalistic newspaper headlines)
How can a headache be proven over depression, how can a bad back be proven over anxiety? Simply, they cannot, yet still some illnesses seem more acceptable than others.
Maybe it is our fear of the unknown or maybe it is the fear of ourselves and the stigmas which we have attached to some forms of illness.
Either way, perhaps it is time to change, to follow the example of that lady's boss, and try to be more aware and compassionate of other people's struggles.
I'd love to hear of any experiences in the comment box, in the mean time together we can bring some Serenity to your life.
Her boss said she was an "example to us all" by telling colleagues she was taking sick leave for her mental health - but would British bosses be similarly supportive?