“Mental Health is a challenge, but not a weakness.”
This is a statement made in the recent HBR article, “We Need to Talk More About Mental Health at Work.” I totally believe in and agree with the statement. However, it is much easier said than done.
The good news is that talking about mental health is no longer a taboo. I finally turned on my TV for the first time in months to watch, “A Million Little Things,” which is about a group of friends whose bond becomes even stronger when one of them commits suicide. And while the series has already made a dramatic turn that I could do without (although I know that they have to keep their viewers engaged somehow), I love the fact that it provides a way for others to say, “I’ve felt the same thing.”
When you’re struggling with a mental health condition, it’s hard to tell your family and friends. In fact, most of us don’t. There are not a lot of people who talk about feelings, which makes it difficult to say, “I am feeling really sad and I don’t know why.” We could change that to say, “There’s a chemical imbalance in my brain that is making everything feel like a struggle right now.” But not everyone will understand the implications of that statement. So, if it’s hard to talk to family and friends about it, it’s even harder to talk about it at work.
I applaud the employers who have found a way to offer that safe space to their employees. But they are few and far between. It will take us a long time to get to a place where we can have a safe and open discussion about mental health conditions, but I believe we will get there. Eventually.