Coping with Mental Health in the Workplace.

31 October 2017 Leicester, UK

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 sometimes it doesn't affect 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. In 2017 I made the big decision to quit my job in a school for a venture in social media. I left a pretty incredible team at my old job position and within a month of being in the new job 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. It wasn't until I left the office environment after a second job that I figured out that was the thing making me feel most anxious. 


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 from forming. 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 think makes a good workplace when dealing with mental health and wellbeing. 
  • Have a place where people can go if they feel as though they need some time out. Sometimes someone who is feeling anxious needs somewhere they can go to escape so allows them to have one that is accessible to them. 
  • Make sure as a team you are an approachable bunch, that can really help someone feel more comfortable to open up with you. 
  • Make sure you talk to someone who maybe seems a little quieter recently, are they ok? Sometimes opening up the conversation can break down a barrier that is already there. 
  • Offer "tea and talk" sessions that are accessible to the team should they want to chat with someone.
  • Talk about the importance of self-care and wellbeing with your team, some people may not be aware of how essential it is and need to kickstart it into their routine.
  • Remember the Winter is usually quite a difficult time, suggest treats on the table in the office or maybe suggest getting together. 
  • Maybe suggest a well-being afternoon for your staff members. At my old job in the school for a week we could access massages and things! Honestly, they had huge benefits. This would be the perfect time to bring in a wellbeing coach too if you can! 
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. 

Hopefully this will encourage more positive activity for Mental Health in your workplace! 






10 comments

  1. I had to leave two jobs because of my anxiety and stress. Currently taking a gap year from work. I have to admit that I'm scared of going back into a work environment and not being able to deal again. I'm also a perfectionist and don't cut myself any slack. The moment I think my boss is not happy with my work I completely break down.

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    1. That's so sad, I'm really sorry you had to leave because it got too much :\. I think you have to ease yourself into it, maybe do some volunteering so you are in a working environment without feeling like your committing yourself TOO much to a role. I think you are far better at what you do then you think you are, definitely seek some advice from your GP :) xx

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  2. Such a great post, and so important. I had to leave my previous job due to a complete mental breakdown. This was bought on by the other people in my office who treated me appallingly. It was an awful situation, and that company really need to learn how to be a better company for people who struggle with mental health issues. Luckily, my current employer is very understanding and relaxed, so I have a lot of flexibility with work hours, whether I work in the office or at home etc. x www.aimeeraindropwrites.co.uk x

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    1. I think it's something that is tough to chat about but is so important, I'm glad you are in a far better working environment now and your being supported! :) xx

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  3. I love this. Mental health is such a huge deal, and it can really impact us in the work place. We are always under stress when it comes to work. I have definitely experienced mental health distress, and it made every part of my life worse.

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    1. I think it impacts people more than you think it does, unless you are in that position yourself. I hope you feel far better now :) xx

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  4. So inspiring and true, thank you :)

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  5. Thanks Mia, glad you enjoyed the post! xx

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  6. I actually left my job yesterday after a month for this exact same reason and honestly it was the best thing I have ever done. I think one of the biggest things in the workplace is having a supportive manager and I didn't really have that as my manager got sacked during my third week. I feel like we shouldn't be afraid to say when things aren't working the way we hoped and not be afraid to quit.

    Abbie
    overpeachchic.com

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  7. This is such an important post - I've lost or had to leave a few jobs due to anxiety and I've never found anyone to be particularly understanding. I told one of my first employers I was suffering with depression and anxiety, went away for a Bank Holiday and when I came back they suddenly made me redundant!

    A Literary Cocktail: http://www.aliterarycocktail.com

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