World Mental Health Day
Mental health problems can affect everyone – 365 days a year; but once a year, on the 10th October, World Mental Health Day highlights the issues facing the many sufferers and their carers. It marks a day in the calendar where we can show support for better mental health provision and helps to kick start the conversation on mental health.
This year’s theme for World Mental Health Day 2017, set by The World Federation for Mental Health, is workplace wellbeing. For most of us, studying at university is our full time job, our 9-5. Working has been recognised as a key factor in supporting and promoting mental health. It connects us with others, gives us a sense of identity and provides us with a routine. According to the report, Added value: mental health as a workplace asset, found that distress and anxiety is an issue that affects a major proportion of the workforce, whether people have experienced a mental health problem or not. However, many employers lack supportive systems to recognise and address their mental health at work.
Mental health is gradually becoming a priority on the political agenda and thankfully it’s slowly shrugging off its previous social taboos – yet more needs to be done. The transferable skills and input of those who have lived with mental health problems have much to offer the workplace. Often those who experience issues of mental health can bring a different dimension and insightful viewpoint that others cannot.
The New Institute for Public Policy Research analysis found that nearly five times as many students disclosed a mental health condition to their university compared with those of 10 years ago. With increasing study costs and an ever competitive job market, there is a greater pressure on today’s university students. As the demand for university mental health services increases, universities need to ensure they are equipped to deal with the growing need. Thankfully, here at the University of Derby, we’re lucky to be supported with a pool of fantastic well-being services from mental health support to counselling, open and available for all.
Mental health problems affect one in four of us, yet many of us still remain terrified to openly talk about our experiences. For people with mental health problems not being able to talk can perpetuate their illness, confounding shame and leading to isolation. World Mental Health day allows us to support workplace well-being by talking about mental health, breaking down stereotypes, and removing the stigma from something that is relevant to us all. Whilst some of the higher political and institutional changes within workplaces may be beyond our control, changing the culture within our workplaces can start with us.
So whilst you’re at university, why not reach out and offer support to your friends, ask someone how they’re feeling, be mindful about how you speak about mental health, or take action and write a blog on mental health and post it online, or even bravely commence your own journey to recovery this World Mental Health Day.