The workplace and Mental Health
During my adult years I have worked in several industries and workplaces and I have heard the word mental health awareness thrown around so many times. In fact I’ve heard the typical “we support mental health” more times than I care to remember.
If you’ve read my post Fight or Fight you might recall why I chose to leave my employment in a major player in the UK financial scene towards the latter part of last year. So many employers talk the talk but I have always questioned whether actually walk the walk. Working takes up so much of our lives and a workplace should be a place of inclusion and acceptance. The stigmas surrounding mental health in the workplace is real and it still exists no matter what people and employers may want us to think or believe.
I have witnessed how people judged and spoke poorly of those employees taking time off work due to mental health related issues. I think the focus should really be on educating those who do not understand on what it’s like suffering with mental illness. As suffers we should maybe also try to educate those individuals by speaking up in order to break down the stigma. I know it’s tricky, and when we suffer and find ourselves battling the darkness raging within our minds speaking up is not something we’d consider. I do realise that so much more needs to be done to break the stigma.
I have recently started contracting for another major player in finance and I was so surprised, in fact I still am, to see how much this business is doing to embrace, accept and support their staffs mental wellbeing. Not just those who suffer with mental health related conditions, but also for the other members of staff. This week my employer held what they call wellbeing week. The focus was on mental health, the environment and various other topics the staff care about. What struck me most was the trained employee they utilised to come in and do compassionate meditation with us all. Although I am not a permanent member of their staff, they included me in every activity and it was just amazing.
My employer doesn’t have any knowledge of my mental health struggles,but just being included felt amazing. The compassionate meditation was something I have never considered as part of my recovery, but it is now. We sat down and listened to a short presentation on the topic and then had twelve minutes of meditation. The instructor asked us to focus on a spot on the crisp white table in front of us with our eyes open. We sat quietly for a minute or two, then he asked us to close our eyes and clear our minds. His voice was calm and he spoke so clearly. The room was silent and the atmosphere was so calming and I felt so focused on the task.
He went on and asked us to think of someone we like. A person we would wish well and to see that person in our minds aye and in our head repeat the words “I wish you well”. After a few minutes of doing this we were asked to think of someone we feel indifferent about. A person we don’t hate, someone we just don’t feel anything for. There’s no love but also no hate. Then we had to keep that person in our minds eye again and wish that person well just like we did with the person we love. We sat doing this for a short while and when the session was over the instructor told us we will notice that we may react slightly differently than what we did before.
Walking out I felt light. I don’t know how or why, but I just felt light as if I was floating. I went on with my job and later in the day I did something and thought to myself “wow my reaction was very different to my usual”. It just felt amazing and now I’m going to incorporate compassionate meditation into my self care routine. It will become a part of my recovery methods. I am confident that I will start to see a bigger impact of this type of meditation in my life. Although I know my new employer will never read this I would like to thank them for their passion and support they are showing to ensure their staff maintain a positive mental state regardless of whether they suffer with mental illness or not.
I have never thought I would see such investment in employees mental health and general wellbeing than what I have seen in the two months I have been contracting with this company. I am amazed and yet so grateful for what they are doing. My contract is due to finish just before Christmas and I truly hope to see more of this type of investment into employee wellbeing that I have experienced the past couple of months. Here’s hoping other employers follow suit.
I’d love to hear what your employers are doing to support mental health and to break the stigma! Please leave a comment and share your experiences.
Appeared first on beautiofmychaoticmind.com