This week we have heard from a small number of Picker employees who have faced mental health struggles or supported loved ones through theirs. These are but a few of the stories out there; it is only by speaking openly and without fear of reprisal that we can begin to help and support those who need it most.
You can be sure that there will be many people out there; friends, family, colleagues; who lock their struggles behind closed doors and deal with them alone. A key barrier to seeking help can be the fear of the unknown, (unfounded) shame and a feeling that your mental health somehow defines you and how others will see you. Mental health stigma is still, sadly, something we have to contend with. However, with every story told and open discussion we have on mental health, we have the power to end this stigma.
We all have a responsibility to our own wellbeing, but also in building friendships, office culture and a society where barriers to seeking help, such as fear and shame, no longer stand in our way. We do this by informing ourselves, by remaining open and by being brave enough to share our experiences with those around us. With every voice raised to own their struggle, more will be emboldened to do the same.
My hope is that one day we will feel comfortable speaking of our mental health struggles in the same way we would vocalise our physical ailments. That saying, “I am feeling really anxious” will one day be as natural as saying “I have a headache” and that neither bears any shame nor fear.
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