Colleagues share mental health stories

It’s good to talk

We all know that our colleagues at St Monica Trust do extraordinary things every day. There are many examples of this. And sometimes it’s the passing story about what special people our colleagues are, that really strikes a chord. This week one of our managers shared a special team moment with me.

One of this manager’s team had been having a bit of a hard time over a few months. Things just started to get on top of them. Home life and work life pressures were accumulating and when they raised this with the manager, they got upset, which was quite out of character for them. The manager did completely the right thing – in listening, supporting and referring them to HR, who were able to refer the person on to the employee assistance programme (EAP) for expert support.

On the advice from the EAP contact, the colleague made a couple of visits to their doctor to get the right level of anti-depressant prescribed to them – this, of course, is quite normal and not something anyone should ever be ashamed of. But at a team meeting soon after the second visit to the doctors, this colleague made the decision to tell their colleagues about what they were going through. This really took some courage because you never really know how people might react to this sort of information, sadly there is still a lot of stigma around mental health. Anyway, the person told their colleagues because they wanted them to be aware that any mood changes or anything different about them might be because of their medication or indeed down to what they’ve been going through.

Although the team has always been close, this person and their manager were genuinely surprised that as soon as they had shared their mental health story with the team, other colleagues started sharing theirs. It turned out that a few colleagues had suffered some form of mental health issue and had had, either in the past of now, the need to take anti-depressants.

Of course it’s not appropriate to include names in this blog post, but they have given permission to share their story. I know that you, as their colleagues, will join me in thanking this person for being so open and honest, it’s in no way obligatory but it really does help to talk – just the act of sharing and empathising has made this person and their colleagues feel less alone and isolated.

It really is good to talk.