October 22nd, 2018 By Natalie Ackerman
Recently, I posted an article that broached the topic of suicide. It was a personal choice based on a discussion I had with my colleagues, and one that was inspired by brave people who have spoken out about mental health. I shared a few stories with our staff and realized how difficult it is to talk about these issues, especially when they personally affect you.
I spoke about a child at my son’s school who took his life about a year ago. I shared how I was recently walking on a crowded street with my family, which firemen had barricaded because there was a man sitting on the edge of the roof above us.
Emotional health is a critical component to healthy living, and we need to talk about it more often.
Combating the mental health stigma
Research confirms there’s a stigma about talking about mental health. We live in a culture of fear, silence and shame. It’s costly to employers and detrimental to employees both personally and professionally. One survey confirmed that 29 percent of people are embarrassed to speak to people or medical professionals about their mental health concerns, and 80 percent of employees report that workplace stress affects their personal relationships.
In observance of World Mental Health Day on October 10th, Jack teams around the globe talked about mental health and raised awareness through educational programs. And our employee led diversity and inclusion team, IAMJACK, kicked off a month of emotional wellness.
We’re sharing tips, tools and offering workshops to encourage staff to discuss and focus on mental and emotional wellness. Practicing mindfulness and gratitude, connecting with colleagues and peers and being physically active are also on the list. Our office in Australia even created an Orange Room (our brand color) that is a private, quiet space where staff can recharge, reflect and refocus.
Sharing useful tips
Many of our offices are also hosting events: juice mornings (along with nutritious snacks), mediation sessions, workout classes, talks on how to manage stress and anxiety, and massages. More importantly, they are giving teams useful tools to improve their mental health:
At Jack, creating a positive and healthy work environment is a priority because our agency is only as strong as our people. We know how prevalent mental health problems are and a huge problem is the stigma attached to talking about it. However, people listen when we share stories. I wasn’t afraid to share mine. I encourage you to share yours.