Mental Health in the Business World – Is Training the Answer?

Last month was Bell’s “Let’s Talk” day, which was geared to bring light and give more attention to mental health issues, in an attempt to help end the stigma that surrounds mental health issues.  It really opened my eyes to the fact that so many are suffering from mental health issues, and the effect that it can have on businesses.  It also started a discussion that many may not have otherwise had.

We all have stress in our lives, but not everyone is able to cope.  Many employees don’t have someone to turn to.  Because of stigma, employees often don’t want to talk to their employers.  So often, managers want to help their employees, but do not know how.  They may have not had any training or prior knowledge of how to deal with stress and mental health issues in the workplace.  This is costing businesses nearly $6 Billion a year because of presenteeism and absenteeism due to mental health issues.

When management ignore the issue and sweep it under the rug, as many used to believe was the way to deal with depression, anxiety and other mental health issues that their employees may suffer from, it not only doesn’t fix the issue, it can cost the business time and money.

Management needs proper training and well defined policies in place, to know how best to approach employees they believe may be suffering from depression; training to know how to calm down an employee having an anxiety attack, and the know how to create a better work-life balance to improve the mental well-being of employees.  With this knowledge, they will not only save the business money in the long run, but they will create a happier, healthier work environment.

Offering training to management and supervisors, in how to deal with mental health issues will benefit all employees.  It will reduce costs, help reduce stress, reduce absenteeism, conflict and frustrations.  With just a bit of knowledge and a few small changes can improve productivity, performance work-life balance and morale, which will benefit the business as a whole.

There are a number of on-site and online training options available in Nova Scotia and across the country.  Two options are included below.

  1. Mental Health in the Workplace Training
  2. St. John Ambulance

Be well!

Life is too Short Not to Follow My Heart

IMG_0805
Much of my life has been spent worrying about what someone else thought. Doing what someone else wanted. Liking what someone else liked. So much so that I had no idea what I wanted to do when I grew up, or even how I wanted to spend my days.

My life didn’t work out like I had originally planned. I was going to university, would get my BA and then become a teacher. I would teach French and Canadian History. The end.

I got to university, and it wasn’t as easy as I had expected. I wasn’t happy and I didn’t do well. I failed French. I was there because I was supposed to be, it was what I thought everyone expected me to do. I wasn’t there because I wanted to be or because I was doing something that I loved. I was trying to keep everyone else happy and in the process I lost sight of what I wanted. What I was forgetting was to stop and find out what I loved, what was passionate about, what made me happy

I don’t ever regret going when I did and doing what I did. It was there that I met my amazing husband, and because of him that we have our daughter. If it weren’t for the choices I made then I wouldn’t be where I am now. When we had our daughter it forced us to stop and reevaluate our path. It meant him going back to school and me putting school in the side burner. It took me a little longer, 14 years to be honest. I switched to the BBA program and I was lucky to get an amazing job before I finished school. I refused to give up on my education, at first because I didn’t want to disappoint anyone, but as time went on, because it was what I wanted.

It wasn’t until I decided I was finishing school for ME that I started doing well, that I started enjoying what I learned and absorbing it. Sure, some of the courses were required to graduate, but many were ones that I was interested in and that I wanted to take. I started to enjoy it when I stopped trying to be who I thought everyone else thought I should be and started making decisions based on what was best for me and my little family. I will finally finish this June. I am finally learning what I love about life and how I like to spend my days.

I listened to Steve Job’s Stanford address twice today. What he said that day was so important and I wish I could have listened to it fourteen years ago. The line that struck home the most for me was “don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.” It is a reminder to listen to my heart, trust my intuition more and worry less about the opinions of everyone else. I might have stopped trying so hard to live the life I thought someone else thought I should be living and been my authentic self a lot sooner. Life is too short not to follow my heart.

Remember to Connect at the Human Level

As technology advances and more of our communication is taking place through email, texting, facebook, twitter and so on, it is easy to forget that we need to connect at a more human level.  While technology does allow us to be in constant communication with one another, and we have come to expect instant answers and fast replies, it sometimes stops us from having real conversations.  We forget to pickup the phone and call or chat over coffee as Adam Shapiro mentions in “Have Millenials Forgotten How to Speak?”  But Anthony Shop argues that technology is bringing us closer together and creating relationships that we may not have otherwise been able to have.

While I see the benefits of technology in business and in my day to day life, I am inclined to agree more with Adam Shapiro.  We need to remember to connect at the human level and stop being perpetually distracted.  It isn’t making us more productive.

We have become so accustomed to relying on technology for everything that yes, I believe some Millenials, may well be forgetting how to speak and interact without staring at their phones.  There is nothing I find more frustrating, or disrespectful, than seeing someone texting, emailing and fiddling with their phone during a meeting or while you try to carry on a conversation.  We really need to work to be more in the moment and more focused on what is being said.

I have worked in the IT world for nearly nine years, I email coworkers and customers daily.  While technology plays an important role, the majority of our clients relationships are built having real conversations – on the phone and face to face.  Becoming too dependent on technology can diminish these relationships. It is much easier to connect, build the relationship and  understand one another if you can hear each other or look each other in the eye. We need to put down the technology now and then and really listen.