Mental Health Awareness
“I think the saddest people always try their hardest to make people happy. Because they know what it’s like to feel absolutely worthless and they don’t want anybody else to feel like that.”
~ Robin Williams
The quote is from Robin Williams in 1997, 7 years before he took his own life, due to depression. Robin Williams, one of the funniest, comedic talents in the history of comedy, basically revealed in that quote his own mental state.
And, if you read it again, he was right…at least about his own inner demons he was fighting, unbeknownst to the world.
I know we are straying away from some of our “normal” subjects, and that mental health awareness is probably considered a rarity in the workplace, but I think the timing is right for us all to do a “Mental Stand down”, so to speak.
I wrote an article in April called “Finding Your Happy”, that you’re going to think was basically the same thing, but really it isn’t. Today we want to be specific in addressing our own mental health, and even more specifically a “Mental Inventory” of where we are each at.
2020 has been an unprecedented year for us all. I won’t even go into the Ka jillion reasons why, because it would be a book the size of an encyclopedia. One statistic that is really glaring for the United States though, is the fact that the U.S. this year has had the highest % of suicides EVER since it’s last spike in WWII.
I, again won’t delve into the “infamous” source of the ever-growing numbers of suicides, because that in itself would be truly depressing.
Okay, I lied. It’s COVID!
I know we, as a culture, have beat this horse to death already, but it doesn’t make it any less true.
The reaction to this “pandemic” has created a vortex of what are now very “infamous” problems. Face masks (cover our face, thus losing individuality), social distancing, isolation, and a huge increase in unemployment, not to mention the thousands of businesses (mostly mom n pops) that went out of business, never to return — all of which are SIGNIFICANT contributing factors to suicide ideation.
What I want to delve into now is our work families.
At my two companies, Plant Services, Inc and Metal Works, everyone is considered more than a number, more than just an employee. We are all here for a reason, for a purpose and are successful because we all care about each other and help each other along when someone needs it.
It’s the very core of who we are. It’s what does set us apart from our competition and is the lifeblood of our family engine.
With that being said we want everyone to do a “Check-In”.
Yeah. First, we want you to “check yourself”, so to speak. Do some reflection and comparison to how you are generally feeling now as opposed to recent history and even further back. Work on being aware of influences that are affecting you negatively and make a positive step towards changing your mood.
Then, we want you to check in on your co-workers, friends, and family. Connect with them and make sure they know their value, especially if they’ve been affected by this year’s debacle…which we know everyone has.
Well, knowing someone’s mental Health is so different than physical health. For example, if someone is overweight and not living a healthy life you can see the results of that visually.
If someone has fallen and broke their arm you can visually see this.
While you may not be able to see the bone is broke you can see the pain in their eyes and face telling you something is wrong.
Mental Health doesn’t manifest in that same way. You cannot always see if there is an illness or even an inner struggle going on. Take the example of Robin Williams. His suicide was a complete shock to everyone
…except Robin Williams.
Warning Signs of Mental Illness
The most infamous mental illness is depression. Depression is not always the only culprit when it comes to mental health, but it is one that is most common and usually pairs with additional afflictions like Anxiety, Bi-polar disorder, Addiction, PTSD etc…
These are all illnesses that you cannot control, yet there is a stigma that can be placed with these illnesses that complicates matters even more for those affected.
Someone suffering from mental illness will display shifts in thought, emotion, and behavior patterns. These changes in pattern do not usually have extreme changes but gradually change over time. Quite often, those who suffer, can feel these changes but they are not always seen by others. Some of these signs can be early warning signs of mental stress or conflict.
Bear in mind these alone do not necessarily mean a diagnosis of mental illness.
Everyone experiences rough patches in life and may display similar symptoms. If these symptoms pair together or do not improve over time this may be an indication.
- Psychosomatic troubles are physical symptoms cause by mental conflict or stress.
- Headaches, Aches, Digestive Issues
- Increased anger and irritability
- Big changes to one’s self-identity
- Major changes in sleeping or eating habits
- Avoiding social activities or withdrawing
- Excessive fear or worry
- Increased issues with Concentration, Difficulty meeting deadlines
So, spend time with your co-workers, loved ones, and close friends.
You never may know just how important even the smallest of gestures may change the path of someone suffering.
It may be the single biggest thing you ever do in your life, to save another by rescuing them from their inner pain, simply by letting them know you care.
“What Mental Health Needs is More Sunlight, More Candor and More Unashamed Conversation”