Nearly two-thirds of people in the UK have experienced a mental health problem, a recent report commissioned by the Mental Health Foundation shows. This rises to 7 in every 10 women, young adults aged 18-34 and people living alone.
This Mental Health Awareness Week (8-12th May) we linked up with coach, inspirational speaker and director of Transformation21st, Faith Ruto, for her personal account of addressing mental health in a bid to get more people talking about it…
How are you today? really!
How are you feeling right now?
When was the last time you answered this question honestly.
We are often very quick to answer “I am fine” “I am ok” or “I am so-so“.
Rarely, do we say “I am feeling depressed, stress, fatigue, fed up, burnout or hopeless“.
Culturally and professionally, most of us don’t like to share our true feelings when we are just surviving. People don’t like to talk about feeling burnout, depression or fatigue. Yet, research is showing that more and more people are suffering in silence.
As it is UK mental health awareness week, I want to start a conversation and create awareness about mental health issues. I want to encourage anyone suffering from work related stress, fatigue, burnout and depression to seek help straight away and to never to give up hope of feeling better again!
I was just SURVIVING!
I want to share my grey moments with you to encourage you to do the same, speak up. At the peak of my corporate career (2012-2013), before I started Transformation21st. I was working and commuting long hours, sleep deprived and fatigued. I became forgetful, grumpy and miserable. I didn’t have any energy to enjoy physical activities that I participated in before. At my lowest, I didn’t have any energy and felt hopeless. I was just surviving on a daily basis. I started having blurred vision, I was struggling to fall asleep and wasn’t a happy smiley person anymore. But whenever anyone would ask me, I used to answer “I am fine or I am tired!”.
After months of not feeling like my usual self, I sought help because I got tired of feeling tired and I knew that things had to change. I spoke to a trained professional counsellor on a weekly basis, who helped me understand what I was feeling and made me realise that I had to reduce or stop the stressors. The myth of having it all as a working mother was taking its’ toll on my health and affecting the precious time I had for my family.
I was told that I was suffering from burnout yet I didn’t even know what was wrong with me. Before my experience, I didn’t know anyone who had suffered burnout. In the end, speaking up, my friends and family, a supportive employer and my faith in God helped me to recover from burnout completely. I have learnt to slow down, listen to my body more and participant in activities such as cycling, walking and swimming which help mental health. I am also teaching myself meditation and mindfulness.
Mental Health Wellbeing is all of our responsibility
In the 21st century, the pace of change will cause more stress for professionals and start ups. We all have a responsibility to pay more attention to our mental health. We also need to support others who may not know that they are simply surviving.
Employers are getting better at implementing wellbeing programs such as mindfulness but without a culture shift that see working longer hours as a health risk, I am concern that many people will continue to suffer.
According to mental health organisation, every 2 hours a person end their life due to mental illness. In the last 3 years, I have been on a train on two occasions when 2 people ended their lives. This is very sad! This is why, I want to spark a conversation and encourage you.
According to the Psychology Today, professionals who are higher achievers are most at risk of suffering mental illness such as stress, fatigue and depression. The reason for this could be ignoring early warning signs. Whatever the reason, please make looking after your mental health a priority. Just imagine trying to drive a car without an engine? I am talking about the traditional cars…not sure if engine will be needed in the future.
But you get my point!
If you are manager, leader or an employer, please look after your employees’ mental health just as much as your do financially and physically!
You are not alone!
From my coaching experience, my clients tell me that they are or have experienced some form of high stress, anxiety and fatigue. The main causes of mental health illness as reported by my clients have been heavy workload, poor relationship with their bosses, longer working hours, job uncertainties due to constant restructuring and working in a high pressured environment. These clients are coming to me to gain career clarity, confidence and resilience. On a few occasions, I have had to refer the clients suffering with serious mental health to medical professionals to get treatments before embarking on coaching with me.
To conclude this article, I would like to offer you hope if you are currently feeling low. Please seek help, speak up and don’t give up hope for a better tomorrow. After every storm there is blue sky and sunshine. Treat this time you are in as a season, you will need to reassess your stressors and adapt your life to cope. When you feel that you are just surviving on a daily basis instead of thriving, this is an indication that things are perhaps not going very well.
Helpful resources and more information on Mental Health:
Join Faith Ruto on Friday 12th May for a FREE Facebook LIVE session to talk about mental health and offer tips. https://www.facebook.com/events/202130193630440/?ti=icl
Transformation21st offer 30 minutes free online coaching chemistry call for anyone who wishes to work on their career clarity, confidence and resilience. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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