This is what it looks like

It’s World Mental Health Day and the theme this year is workplace wellbeing.  In the news and on social media we are being urged to #endthestigma by talking about our own experiences of mental health issues and ask people how they are, how they really are.

So here’s my bit on ending the stigma.  So many articles and social media posts are accompanied with the “head-clutcher”, the picture of someone with their head in their hands.  Here’s the thing…most people living with depression, anxiety and other mental health issues don’t walk around with their head in their hands.  Here’s my handy guide to what a person who is depressed and experiences anxiety may look like.  I do hope you find it useful.

 

PhotoScan1 (2)
This is what undiagnosed depression looks like.

 

PhotoScan1 (3)
This is what someone who is just about to be diagnosed looks like.

 

wedding
This is what someone with depression looks like on their wedding day, in between episodes.
postnatal
This is what someone with postnatal depression looks like.
2016
This is what someone looks like indoor skydiving during a depressive episode.

 

today
This is what someone with a 20 year history of depression and anxiety but who is really very well right now, looks like this morning.

 

People live their lives and function in their jobs with mental health issues every day.  Winston Churchill led this country whilst living with depression, for goodness sake.  Two amazing bosses I had when I was in legal practice helped me to carry on during some really difficult times.  If you happen to read this, ML or JT, thank you.

Some struggle more, some struggle less.  Every day might be different.  Don’t assume, ask. “What do you need?”  “How can I support you?”.  Exactly the way you would a physical illness.

Use available resources from mental health charities like Mind.  Get your people trained in Mental Health First Aid.  Make it ok for people to ask for help, just like they would if they were physically unwell.

It’s time to talk, and time to change.

 

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