We search the Net to seek answers/solutions to anything from the best way to serve our Latte or look for symptoms remedies or the latest how to/what to treatments available for the Scottish “Midge Bite” – before we pick up the phone and arrange an appointment with our doctor to discuss mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.
Yet, would we be surprised to discover that those who we seek help from – in many professions have experienced mental health issues themselves – despite increased openness to discuss and seek help the taboo persists. This situation is not helped when the public hold our professionals on pedestals and thinking they (doctors) can never get sick.
Ask yourself – Who in their right mind is going to disclose mental health illness to their employer or professional body – for fear of loss of employment, friendships, drawing attention to themselves as gossip and rumour amongst colleagues. Not being able to turn up for work – stoic – irrespective of the turmoil churning inside, to hold that professional line and never admit vulnerability. The feeling of being ashamed can be overwhelming – what if people discover – “I’m not strong enough emotionally to hold the line” “What if I loose my job” frightened of being found out, exposed as someone who “needs help”.
Like many professionals we expect of them to portray the quasi dual persona – one for public consumption and the other kept for hushed conversations behind the masking of emotions of frightened and sick individuals. Seems to be an unacceptable position to hold – even at times to accept – that those professionals dispensing the help yet at the same time too frightened to seek it.
So where is the evidence for all of this, you may ask – well we don’t have to look to far from home – as charity organisations are bursting at the seams in their waiting lists for those seeking help, and for those fortunate to be able to access the private sector is an option to bypass the waiting – or by employer insurance to facilitate supporting their employees. Those experiencing mental health issues cited the following factors:
Common issues: Stress, Anxiety; Low Self Esteem
Causes: Heavy workload, Long working hours; High levels of regulation and scrutiny
Effects: Lower concentration and empathy towards others; Unable to discuss issues with colleagues; Stigma attached to mental health issues
As employers and employees return to working environments – asking for help – should be the norm with the shame of stigma and fear removed. I would welcome and like to hear, comment/discuss issues raised during my blogs. Stay tuned for next blog covering emotions and men.