It’s world mental health day; ponderings from a CEO

It’s a day where we are all encouraged to give a little more thought to mental health.

Whether that be thinking about our own needs and struggles, or that of others, or spending a moment to think more broadly about the impact of mental health and wellness.

For me, it’s all of those. It’s no secret that I have had huge struggles with my own mental health, both past and present.

It feels so vitally important that people like myself, who are in a position of leadership, don’t fall foul of purveying a misconception about mental health and wellness; that somehow to be in a position of authority or professional responsibility that comes with the absence of struggle. This is not the case. Not at all.

I have recurrent struggles with my own mental health, with my sense of value and perfectionism and my mood. In many ways, my insight and experiences make me more committed to providing safe and compassionate services that allow those we help, to heal.

We have to continue to demystify mental health. To struggle with health of any kind is a normal part of being a human. Mental health, just like physical health, can take a bruising at times and at those times it is so important to get the right support.

I’m so tired of the catch phrase ‘it’s ok to not be ok’. I get the intention but it’s not really ok to not be ok, is it? It’s actually pretty rubbish to not feel ok.

Also, there’s so much emphasis placed on help-seeking. If you’re struggling ‘reach out’; ‘ask for help’ but when things in life are tough it can feel so difficult to admit that things are difficult, let alone figure out who to turn to for help and then have the courage to ask for that help.

So let’s shift the burden and the narrative. Let’s let people who are struggling know that it’s not just up to them to seek help but that we will notice; we will pay attention to your struggle and we will do our best to ‘reach in’.

If you’re struggling, it’s not just up to you to find help for you; it’s up to us to reach into your struggle and offer you the support you might need.

You are not alone.

This mental health day, let’s do a little bit of reaching in.

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