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It's Time to Talk

Every year the Time to Talk campaign has a new focus and this year it’s about bringing the right ingredients together to talk about mental health.

Across the Inspire North Group (which encompasses Community Links and Foundation) the vast majority of our clients have mental health problems and it’s something that most of us talk about with them every day, we kind of expect them to be able to talk about it; so what makes it so hard to talk about in relation to ourselves?

Stigma, Discrimination & Stereotypes

People with mental health problems can experience discrimination in many aspects of their lives. At work people who have mental health problems can be seen as a bad bet, assumptions are made about productivity and sickness absence that don’t bear out in reality.

People fear that they will not gain promotion or have career opportunities denied to them if they are open about their mental health issues.

Within Inspire North many people who work for us have mental health issues. Statistically its 1 in 4 but I would hazard a guess that over 50% of our employees have had or have mental health issues. It’s a desirable criteria for many of our jobs and we also employ experts by experience in specific roles. We are proud of our workforce and our inclusivity.

My view is that whether you are open or not about your mental health is entirely down to you, the same as it would be in relation to any other personal issue. Some people like to be open others not. However, one thing I do know is that you can’t out run a mental health issue. (Though actual running really can help or any form of physical exercise undertaken 3 times a week for approx. 45 minutes!). Hoping things will pass is not a preventative strategy.

Action will be required. Get help. If you are one of our employees make use of our Employee Assistance Programme. Talk to someone. Research online – Leeds is lucky to have the Mindwell website). Use self-help books. Go to your GP. Some medications can help. Keep active. Eat well. Sleep, sleep some more. Don’t drink too much. Do things you enjoy. It’s really up to you what you do but do something. It’s unlikely to get better on its own.

I’ve always actively looked after my mental health, ever since I can remember. Life is stressful – fact, far more so for some than others. My only ever concern is when people won’t seek help or do anything actively to look after their mental health. It’s not easy, it takes time and effort, a lot of effort, it takes courage, you may not find the help you need straight away, everyone you tell may not be understanding but once you do find the support you need it will be worth it.

So why not find the ingredients this Time to Talk day to spend some time together, even just a few minutes, to think about how we can support each other to stay mentally healthy at work, how we can support each other to cope with stress, how we can improve our working relationships to make every working day the best it can be.

Ruth Kettle, Chief Executive