Mental Health in the Workplace
Written by Thomas Eckardt on 31st October, 2018
Mental health in the workplace is beginning to receive the attention it deserves, but more still needs to be done. This November, I will be taking part in Movember to help raise awareness and funds for mental health issues. It’s a very personal topic and something that I, like many guys, often shy away from.
The statistics, however, speak loudly. 1 in 2 Australian men will experience mental health problems in their lifetime, and men account for 75% of all suicides. It is critical therefore, that we talk more about this issue, and meet it head on.
I started my legal recruitment consultancy, EG Consulting, 2 years ago. Although progressing well, there have been moments where the stress of running a small business has become all encompassing and I have battled with anxiety, stress and depression. As with most guys, I struggle to talk about my emotions and tend to shrug things off with ‘It’ll be ok’ or ‘it’s just a phase’. When these feelings descend I often feel guilty for feeling them, trying to convince myself that ‘here I am living in a beautiful country, with a business that’s doing well and lots of friends to support me, not to mention a roof over my head, 3 meals a day and clean water!’. However, depression and stress don’t care where you live or what your lifestyle is, and they make it hard to see any positives that rationally exist. They can, and do, hit everyone at some time in their life.
What I have learned is that when you have feelings of stress or depression it really does help to let them out by letting people in. Being vulnerable with people allows people to be vulnerable with you. You would be amazed at how many people want to speak to you about how they feel but are too embarrassed to bring it up. Talk to friends, talk to your family, talk to strangers (I once broke down to a poor Uber driver on a particularly bad day, 30 minutes later when they dropped me off, I genuinely felt better for talking to someone!) or talk to professionals (who aren’t on surge pricing!) (Lifeline – 13 11 14, Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467).
My day job is to talk to people in the legal profession about their career choices. Law is one of the professions most heavily hit by mental health issues. If our paths do cross, whether in person or on the phone, please feel free to have a chat with me. If I can help, I will.
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