Tag Archives: mental health in the workplace

Reflections on World Mental Health Day

Back in 2007, when Nick Clegg made mental health the focus of his first major speech as Lib Dem Leader, it was pretty groundbreaking. And we walked the walk as well as talked the talk. Arguably the most successful part of our time in coalition was Norman Lamb’s work as mental health minister. Not only did he do so much to talk about mental ill health and so challenge the stigma, but he improved mental health services for people.

I often wished Scotland had a Norman Lamb. It took years for the SNP Government to update its mental health strategy and even now young people have to wait for such a long time to be seen. The pandemic has made that even worse. I know a young person who was seriously self-harming who had to wait for over a year for an appointment with a consultant. The impact that can have on education is seismic. If you have to wait a year to be seen and then another year at least before you actually start to feel like you can function, that is a third of your secondary education gone, just like that.

Over the past year and a half, my mental health has ricocheted between terrible and just about getting through the day with a smile on my face. The election campaign and its aftermath broke me and I ended up having two months off work at the beginning of the is year because I had reached the end of my ability to cope. In reality, I’d had nothing in the tank for a good while but kept ploughing on regardless, relying on adrenaline to get me through. That heaps on its own special kind of exhaustion. Sure, you can do your job and get through the day but it is so incredibly tiring until  eventually you just can’t.

What helped me earlier this year was my GP taking one look at me and sending me off to a community wellbeing hub where I had someone help me untangle all the stress, classes to help understand what was going on, a stress management course which took up my Wednesday evenings for a couple of months and, for the first time in my life, I went to a Yoga class. Believe me, I am terrible at Yoga, but it is very good at calming me down.

I’ve always thought that peer support is an essential part of recovery from anything, whether it’s breastfeeding problems or Cancer or stress. Meeting other people going through the same thing and listening to their experiences and what had helped them was invaluable.

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