TackleAfrica sat down with Neil Peters to talk about good mental health in the workplace. Check out the video below for a taste of what was discussed.
The full interview transcript with helpful tips can be found below.
Neil thank you so much for talking to us!
TA: How would you define mental health and wellbeing?
NP: Good Mental health and well-being is the state in which every individual can realise his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.
TA: What has been your experience of mental health conversations in the workplace?
NP: I would say these conversations are easier to have as a manager looking after someone, than as an employee who wants to talk about challenges they are facing! Sometimes there is a fear about talking about your own mental health with colleagues or managers but actually when you have these conversations people are supportive and interested in understanding how to support you. My experience over the last 10 years is that these conversations are becoming easier to have as workplace cultures change and become more open to these conversations, and people are learning the language around discussing it.
TA: How can you foster a positive experience in the workplace, where colleagues are able to talk freely?
NP: Senior leaders and managers, as well as other colleagues, need to make it clear to that it is “okay not to be okay” and that if you are living with mental ill health, you can talk about it in the same way as a broken leg or having the ‘flu. They may even want to talk about their own experiences and stories of recovery.
You can have organised events such a tea and chat party, or just informally check in with colleagues.
TA: Is there anything in particular that seems to encourage and support those who wish to talk freely about mental health?
NP: Creating a culture of talking amongst those you work most closely with is crucial. Although it can be important for leaders to set this tone, looking after each other is everyone’s business.
- Ask people how they really are
- If you know they are having a challenging time at home or work, ask them about it
- Check in with someone after a tricky meeting
- Tell someone if you are struggling
TA: We know all about stigma and taboos through our work on sexual health, is mental health a taboo subject, even now?
NP: Mental health is not yet on a par with physical health in many countries and cultures, but we are making progress and we all have a role to play in breaking down the stigma around mental health.
Neil thank you for taking the time to speak to us! If you would like to contact Neil about his services on mental health and wellbeing support follow the links below to his website, Twitter or LinkedIn accounts.