Mental Health Awareness Week 2019
I had always been someone who thought that my mental health was not something that I needed to concern myself with. I never really had any significant difficulties with my mental health and very mistakenly thought that I would never need to worry about it. In hindsight, this was incredibly naïve of me, given that around one in four people will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives.
My naivety meant that it hit me especially hard when I struggled with mental health issues after the birth of my daughter. In fact, initially, I didn't even realise that I had a problem and carried on at 100 miles an hour pretending everything was ok. My experience has made me realise that however immune we may think we are - any of us may at some point in our lives need mental health support. If we don't need it ourselves, then it is almost a certainty that a friend, family member or colleague will.
I was fortunate to gain access quickly to fantastic private therapy which really helped me. As a result, I'm now incredibly passionate about mental health being given the same priority as our physical health. I also believe that it is something that must be talked about in order to remove the stigma that still exists in some circles about admitting to a mental health issue. Mental illness is not a weakness, nor is it controllable. For this reason, I often share my story with others and am always amazed at the high number of people who share their own mental health story back.
Fortunately, Grant Thornton also recognises the importance of talking about mental health and supporting its employees in this regard. I am incredibly proud to work for an employer where admitting to mental health issues is met with support and assistance. It was wonderful this morning to log onto the Grant Thornton intranet and read an article from Jonathan Riley, our Head of Quality and Reputation who also has an important role on the Strategic Leadership Team as the sponsor for mental health and wellbeing in the firm.
In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Week 2019, Grant Thornton have organised a range of activities across our UK offices. I am looking forward to attending some of the following events organised by the Wellbeing Team in our Leicester office:
- Monday - our monthly Mindfulness session.
- Wednesday - a relaunch of our Employee Assistance Programme. This is a confidential free service provided through Legal & General which provides practical, expert assistance and support to help our Grant Thornton employees through difficult times in their personal lives.
- Thursday - Take 5 Tea break with cake @ 3pm with Umair and Rupi our office Mental Health First Aiders
- Friday - the launch of our free 4 week Stress Management and Wellbeing Workshop hosted by Dhana a qualified Cognitive Behavioural Therapist
In addition to the special events being planned this week, we are also lucky to have trained Mental Health First Aiders in all of our UK offices, and the Leicester office also has a mindfulness room and a monthly mindfulness session.
During this Mental Health Awareness Week, I'd encourage everyone to think about what you are doing each week to protect your own mental health, as well as how you may be able to protect the mental health of those around you.