Where can I get further advice and support for my mental health?
When I started on the road to recovery in relation to my mental and physical health, and my well-being I did spent a lot of time piecing together the roads top recovery. Due to this I have now developed a strategy that works in relation to professional support, guidance and advice. However there is along way to go before everyone has access to the same services, support and information.
It is noticeable that gradually mental health news and issues are being highlighted in the national and local press. I believe that mental health awareness week was a large contributor to this. Even though there is long way to go I think the stigma attached to mental health and the treatments is gradually receding. The media will go along way to encouraging those affected to speak out and ask for the help and support that is there.
I also believe that it is in the interests of employers to raise awareness of mental health among employees and the services and support available. The amount of sickness hours and lost employment hours must be very damaging to any business, especially the smaller ones. I know from my own mental illness I had to lean more on my bosses and colleagues, whilst trying to work to a good level in a highly pressurised role. Without the support of bosses, colleagues and occupational health I would struggle to be here writing this article now.
I am a big supporter of any employer who has in place a wellness programme for staff. Gym membership and other leisure subsidies, counselling and health monitoring, healthy eating advice, time off and other programmes should all be in place to assist staff. I was alarmed to hear from a family member who works in HR that at her company there were no provisions for wellbeing services.
They shall remain nameless and even though it is a traditionally male dominated industry, you would think there would be mental health support in place, I think this is worrying. She went on to tell me that despite this lack of provision there had been an increase in the amount of male staff reporting that they had some form of mental illness to HR. This has to be encouraged and supported.
One of the best charities in my opinion for anyone who is looking for advice and support in regards to mental health, is Mind - The Mental Health Charity - on their website there are lots of articles offering advice and support regarding different types of mental health, treatments and other issues, both for those who live with mental health and those who support those living with mental health.
There is a section on mental health at work and handy guides for employees and employers. These include top tips for well-being at work such as - learn, be active, take notice and give support and advice. There are also top tips for staying well at work – such as reclaiming your lunch break, asking for help, starting a 'to do' list and leaving work on time.
There is a training and consultancy section, there are cost-effective courses that promote well-being in the work place and at home. Mind will be one of many charities that offer practical advice on dealing with mental health and other related illnesses. I know that when I required either support from the Samaritans or my GP there was specialist knowledge there. Sometimes you just need someone to listen.
It's essential that the stigma around mental illness is pushed away, and the information on the Mind website is another great help in this happening.
Check out the Mind workplace section: Mind - The Mental Health Charity - workplace.