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Mental Health and Wellbeing

Is there a difference between them?

Are you confused by these two areas?

It appears today that these two genres are very much in vogue, and that’s very good news as anything that raises awareness of mental health has to be a good thing, however if like me you are finding it a little confusing let’s try to understand what is the difference.

More generally, wellbeing is just feeling good about yourself and your life, there are lots of “coaches & courses” for this and it can sometimes be confused with having a positive mental attitude, as it appears that breathing fresh air and looking at blue skies will improve your mental wellbeing, personally it all seems fairly basic and these are obvious things to improve your outlook on life.

However for some people they simply cannot see it, their life is clouded in misery and self doubt and their wellbeing is constantly at a low level meaning their respective work and personal lives will ultimately suffer and be of a lower quality.

Again for me as a personal development trainer and coach these are quite easy areas to cover and results can be gained quickly and can be highly impactful and beneficial to both the individual and those around that person.

Allow me to expand, most office environments will have the “negative dumper personality”, the one who loves to dismiss any new ideas or initiatives before they have any chance to breathe, offering such cultured words of support as

“oh here we go, more management BS” .

This personality loves to dump their junk and ideally it ends over individuals in the same department, they want a low sense of morale because this will enable them to grow above their colleagues as they are mentally “very strong” and possibly the negative conversations will leave their colleagues de-motivated disengaged and just feeling flat, in turn leading to lower performances making it easier for the negative dumper to shine and climb above all others performance wise.

Certain people, have low self esteem and are happy to follow the leader, who in this case is leading them to their own ending, which will be low performance low productivity and potentially a loss of their job.

So how should we deal with these personalities?

I once worked in a sales organisation that ran primarily on motivation, it was hard work high pressure offering good rewards, we were encouraged that if anybody came and tried to engage with us in anything perceived to be negative we should raise our voice and response loudly enough so all around could hear

“Please Jonathon, go away and don’t talk to me, you are being negative and I don’t want your negativity to affect my opportunities and my income so go away”

It certainly was effective, it stopped the gossip cliques and once somebody is labelled as negative it takes an age to undo that reputation.

A great working environment will impact the majority and in a very positive way, no toxic conversations, no back stabbing, an element of trust and mutual respect, these will all go a long way in improving the overall wellbeing of your working cultural environment, allowing all personalities to contribute and to feel their opinions are valued respected and occasionally acted on.

It will also lead to a true sense of belonging to a Team, this is incredibly important to individuals with a lower sense of self worth and value, as every member of the team contributes to the ultimate goals and achievements that the company wish to enjoy, and all are considered to be a value add.

So if we connect that to wellbeing, its not an overly complicated mind state to impact and improve, it does exist and it is real, but I would say it’s an area that is easier to resolve internally.

Equally once training and coaching become the norm in any organisation, a shift of culture from toxic to positive should always follow, the key is the company have to implement these actions and make them constant not just a one off, going for a few beers and a pizza at the end of each month simply isn’t going to cut it, the investment has to come first, the long term benefits will outweigh any pain at expanding budgets and the initial costs involved.

Now, Mental Health is made up of our emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing.

It affects how we think, feel, and act, it also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others including colleagues peers managers and clients, and in making choices.

Mental Health areas are conditions that can require the skills of highly trained and qualified counsellors to overcome, there are so many mental disorders today and these aren’t just having a bad attitude or being in a bad mood, these are genuine conditions and need to be treated as such, so the previous options will not work in a lot of these cases.

Imagine if one of your colleagues suffers from ‘Imposter Syndrome” alternatively ”Borderline disorder” or indeed is “Bi-polar”.

Would you know how to help these people, would a manager or an HR leader?

I would say no and yet in most cases these leaders are charged with resolving and “fixing“ these individuals or just replacing them.

There is most definitely an element in certain corporate cultures where individuals just don’t feel safe sharing their respective mental health issues as they can be perceived as a weakness and in some cases can be used against them.

I recall one very experienced lady sharing her experience with me, she had suffered from terrible abuse leading to personality disorders as result of this, she was an efficient worker but when pressure was applied to hit deadlines etc she would emotionally breakdown, left alone she would always finish her work in a timely manner.

One particular time a “manager” was giving her a hard time to get her work in on time, so she shared her mental health issues with this person, the response she received,

“Well now I know that, maybe you’re not the right person to work here” !!!!!

She decided at that moment never to share her concerns again and just to deal with her traumas in silence, until the day it became too much and for her and she left, when she left nobody new why?

This is not uncommon, the numbers involved are quite staggering, in the UK alone poor mental health in the workplace costs the UK economy 70 billion sterling per annum, with the average replacement cost being 50k per employee.

The statistics related to the cost to companies are incredible and yet consistently ignored while being very easy to change in a positive manner.

At VOS we have partnered with MindBerry which is a secure on line platform that allows employers the facility to extend to their employees an opportunity to speak in total confidence to counsellors of their choice and receive professional help and guidance to resolve their respective issues and concerns.

The results are outstanding and the feedback equally so.

As a service it is exceptional and I believe essential in todays work space.

In a nutshell we can all help each others mental wellbeing, plus if we can recognise and accept that our colleagues peers and our leaders can suffer from mental health issues and we know they can receive help without fear of any reprisals, then surely our working space will become a more productive and healthy one.

The good thing is that today people are becoming increasingly more comfortable in sharing their concerns and are even recognising they too have mental health issues that they just perceived to be part of their character and had simply learnt to live with.

Wellbeing can be good for all of us, we can all contribute to it, equally we can all assist anybody suffering from Mental Health issues, let’s all try to be more aware.

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