Former Clarion Energy marketing director Tom Fisher (now Clarion Events group marketing operations manager and EN Awards winner) raises a vital issue around men and mental health.
I am someone that is candid about my mental health. For most of my life, I have experienced manic highs where you feel like you can conquer the world, and crushing lows where you feel like all hope is gone. This can obviously have a huge impact on your work and enjoyment of your day-to-day life.
For that reason, promoting mental wellbeing is something I am very passionate about and I thank EN for the platform to promote this. Over the years, I have found various ways to alleviate negative feelings I’ve had. I’m not a doctor, much to my family’s disappointment, but I do have some personal suggestions for those in our beloved industry who find themselves in this position.
Don’t Bottle It Up
Something I have found, particularly with men, is that negative feelings get bottled up and hidden away until the point there is a mental explosion. This is not healthy, and it doesn’t make you any braver. I detest the expression: “It’s okay to not be okay”. That wouldn’t be said about any other situation. Speak to a doctor and get help.
In general, there is still a perceived stigma around men and mental health in the workplace -that if you tell your boss that you’re not feeling right, some devastating black mark will be against your name. Times have changed, and even if that were the case, do you really want to spend the next few years at that company? The candid approach isn’t for everyone, but I can say that Clarion have been supportive both in a formal and informal capacity during my time here, offering advice or support if I’ve needed it.
Tell A Friend
There can be a temptation to lock yourself away from the world when you’re not feeling right. I have always found getting to work where there’s a distraction, as well as people to talk to about how you’re feeling, or just the football at the weekend, really helps. Initially I was surprised how kind people can be, as well the difference getting it off your chest can make.
How Can Employers Help?
Unfortunately, years of television soaps and misconceptions have painted a depressing picture of mental health as tears, drama and sick leave. The reality is that the person can just feel numb and just isn’t taking much enjoyment from life. It sounds simple but asking how someone feeling can really make a difference. You can’t be a counsellor, but you can be a good boss/colleague and talk it out. Bear in mind that the person could be uncomfortable with how they’re feeling – let them talk to you at their pace.
To end this on a positive note, despite spending most of my life battling mental health, I’ve still got to where I wanted to be and really started to take enjoyment out of life, as have countless others.