I haven't spoken about my mental health in a considerably long time, a couple of years in fact. I suppose I've been lucky that it was not affecting me too much, until the past couple of months that is. Mental Health is very real, a struggle and I need to talk about it. I recently began a new venture in social media, a position I was very excited for, counting down to like it was Christmas, left a pretty incredible team at my old job position and within a month of being there I've handed in my resignation notice. I've never sat at a desk and felt the overwhelming surge of anxiety fill my head and my lungs to the point I end up sat crying in the local doctor's office demanding that something is done about it because I can no longer cope. I am about to begin a new job in the same role but a different company and you know what I'm most anxious about? falling apart all over again. 

Just recently it was reported that 300,000 people with a long-term mental health problem lose their jobs each year. That is ridiculous. A job that is supposed to be something we enjoy, something we strive towards is becoming an environment that no longer feels safe for people. We're all human, we all have our bad days, but for 1 in 4 of us, we experience more than your typical bad day and it's very real. Job's aren't necessarily fun either but can be for someone the only reason they get out of the house every morning, for some, it's more than just paying the bills but kind of a lifeline. 

Coping with anxiety in the workplace is difficult, in fact just talking about the problem is probably the most challenging thing for someone but also the foundations for creating a better working environment for them. 

I'm not embarrassed to have anxiety but what I am embarrassed about is that there isn't enough already in some workplaces to stop those barriers. I am extremely lucky to have been in working environments where the manager has adapted the environment, gave me the space to talk and be listened to. But remember not everyone will talk to their manager so here are a few things that I don't think make a working environment manageable for someone with a mental health issue and should be considered.
  • A quiet office with nothing more than the noise of keyboards and telephones. A quiet space can give people too much headspace, too much time to overthink and be triggered.
  • Don't expect someone to always manage their workload, especially if your business is small and can be quiet. Make sure they have enough work to be getting on with. I spent a lot of time before sat for an hour or more with no work to get on with in my last job and it was horrible.
  • Remember the winter months can affect a person with mental health quite massively so maybe adapt their hours so that they're not travelling to/from in the pitch dark. 
  • Try to encourage people to take their lunch breaks together so that they're not sat in the lunch canteen eating alone. Some people may be ok with that arrangement but it can also make someone feel incredibly lonely. 
  • Assure them that you are there for them to support them, as important as business is so is someone's mental health. 
  • Encourage them to seek advice from their GP. 
I know I'm lucky to have an incredible support network of boyfriend, friends and family as well as my local GP to help me load off but imagine if someone didn't have that. Imagine if someone felt pretty shit and riddled with anxiety but had nobody to talk to about it at home, sometimes you are the only people who have listened. Talking is power and dealing with mental health in the workplace is a responsibility for everyone. 
thanks for reading,