I’ve always been someone who has an extreme interest in mental health and how it is represented in the workplace, being someone who suffers from anxiety myself. It is even more worrying knowing that I want to go into a profession like PR, where the expectation is that you are always “switched on” and it can be quite a heavy lifestyle.
PR Week and the PRCA did a study into this with 540 PR professionals, and many people responded saying that they didn’t feel comfortable raising the topic with managers. It is alarming that perhaps people feel embarrassed about talking about their issues, or that they try and write off how they’re feeling. I always want to strive to make people feel comfortable around me to talk about how they’re feeling, and I hope I’ll be entering a workplace where my problems will be listened to and respected.
5 tips on how to deal with a colleague/ friend who suffers from mental health:
- Ask after them. It’s always important to check after your friends if they seem to be acting strange or a little different from usual. You never know when a kind word can help someone out of a dark space or encourage them to open up to you.
- Look after them. Sometimes making a nice cup of tea and asking if there is anything that you can do to help them through a certain situation can help.
- Don’t tell them to get over it. There is nothing worse than attempting to speak to someone and them being unable to offer any sort of advice apart from telling you to get over it. Be empathetic and not sympathetic.
- Listen. People don’t always want to be given advice, sometimes it’s just enough that someone wants to listen, and they know that they have someone to go to when they need it.
- Remember everyone is different. Just because something happened to your Auntie’s best friend and she used some herbal remedy that worked for her, does not mean it’s going to work for others. Don’t try and fix people.