It does not take a genius to see the enormous increase in the number of suicides and the rise in mental health challenges overall. Perhaps the number of suicides is a very dramatic litmus test, but the general trend of challenges is upwards. This is the case in all walks of life, and I note this week that the ex-Head of the Royal Marines has just died, although the press has taken a very low-key approach.
Every suicide is as important as the next and the current trend is worrying. In addition, we are seeing more of it in the teenage years as well.
In our work we note that the number of grievances in the workplace has undoubtedly increased in the last 12 months. I also note that The Freedom of Speech Union is very active. Its primary purpose to ensure that, in our attempt to avoid discrimination and to promulgate diversity, we do not forget the fundamental basis of democracy, namely to have the right of freedom of speech.
World Mental Health Day is scheduled for this Sunday, 10th October. The World Federation of Mental Health (WFMH), via its President, has announced the theme for 2021. This is “Mental Health in an Unequal World”.
It is interesting to note that lime green has been chosen as the colour for World Mental Health Day. This is because green is the symbol for mental illnesses, bipolar disorder and depression. Green symbolises the need for continual awareness of mental health in order to help fight the stigma that is associated with it.
What World Mental Health Day is designed to do is to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and to mobilise efforts in support of mental health.
On the one hand we are ensuring that there are vigils, and places to recognise and celebrate the lives of those whom we have lost for reasons of mental health, but we need to do a lot more for the living, in terms of prevention and response. This is a slow and continual drip feed.
So, what should we do? At Integrated Resources we do not claim to have the answers, but we do know that there is still an awful lot of work to be done in terms of being able to talk about Mental Health issues, and to spot where there is a shift in behaviour which should be ringing alarm bells.
Things are not set to improve unless we make a revolutionary push in our approach to mental health, so that the stigma can be removed and it becomes a relevant and regular topic of conversation. We are living in an uncertain world and, irrespective of political views, there is nervousness about Brexit, inflation and the long-term consequences of Covid, which is still with us. Whatever our views, we have all had to cope with a huge amount of change and uncertainty over the last 20 months. This is added to an existing sense of isolation amongst many, and it is not coincidence that therapists and coaches, in their various ways, have been involved in work to raise self-esteem.
There is much written about what to do in terms of how we should respond to what is going on and be more mindful in everything we do. There are many national charities, such as MIND, who offer help with mental well-being, and I would not dare to venture into the area of giving advice. We do notice, however, that there is a challenge of awareness, of which we need to be continually mindful and to raise the subject of mental health even though it seems difficult.
Hopefully we will not solely be reliant on employment legislation to drive awareness forward.
If you’d like to discuss steps that can be taken in your organisation to deal with the increasing mental health challenges faced by most organisations, then please get in touch...