In Canada every year, Bell host’s a “Bell Let’s Talk” day to help bring awareness to mental health. For every text message sent by a Bell user, every phone call made by a Bell user, every #BellLetsTalk tweet, every use of the Snapchat or Facebook filters, and every view of their video, they donate $0.05. It began in 2010, and this year it will round out total donations to about 1 billion dollars. That’s 20 billion retweets, phone calls, text messages, etc. combined to help raise awareness. I wish there were more than one Bell Let’s Talk day a year, but it’s baby steps, right?
The fact is, the stigma is real. I think we as individuals are becoming more open to the discussion, and are beginning to understand. However, us as businesses and corporations are lacking in understanding. It’s sad to see, because you know those individuals in the workplace are understanding, but they get to hide behind the walls of the corporation and turn a blind eye. Workplaces are becoming more hostile, with less team interaction, and more individuality. People go to work to receive a pay cheque, and then they go home. The mentality of just being there to do their job has turned the workplace into somewhere people dread going.
I know I used to some days.
Ending the stigma starts with you, but it’s not just about your friends and family. It stretches. To you. Your co-worker. Your boss. That girl that sits on the opposite side of your floor but keeps to herself. The guy staying late. The girl leaving early. Your boss’ boss. It’s more than just family and friends that struggle through mental health issues. It’s everyone around you.
I challenge you this. Reach out to that girl in the office. You know the one. Invite your team to lunch. Encourage personal interactions at work so that you get a feel for if someone is okay. You don’t know what happens when your co-worker leaves for the day, but there’s a chance they’re going home to an empty apartment, with no one to call. They go from one place where they feel unwelcome, to a home where they might not feel welcome. Make them feel welcome at work. Ask someone how they’re doing, how their day is. Ask how their weekend was. Get to know your neighbours. Get to know your co-workers. And don’t ignore the signs.
Everyone is allowed to have a bad day, but don’t let that change your opinion of them. Just because she’s had three more bad days than you have, doesn’t make her any less of an individual, or any less of a hard worker. Just because he left early even though he looked fine, doesn’t mean he was fine. She’s staying late not because she’s a brown noser, but because she had a rough start to her day, and feels like she has to stay later to make up the work, because if she doesn’t, she will be penalized. All because she had a bit of a bad day.
Help her out. Reach out. Ask what you can do. Don’t hide behind the walls of a corporation.
End the stigma. It starts with you.
PS. Last year’s post: click here.