While we’ve been writing this blog, we’ve always focused on there being no reason for anyone not to make it home in the same state as they arrived to work in. More recently however, inspired by hearing it ourselves, we’ve also thought about the fact that they could arrive home in a better state.
During our years in the occupational safety and health world, the focus has traditionally been on safety though more recently, health has become a big part of the discussions too. In order to improve our health and achieve a better state, we need to consider the mental side of health too, as well as the physical.
Mental health is not a topic many people want to talk about; it’s something that people hide from, avoid and often joke about. Over the last few weeks, mental health has been in the media for numerous reasons and we’re really happy it’s now being talked about so openly. From the Heads Together campaign and the London Marathon, to the sad story this last few days of another footballer hitting the headlines with his own struggles, there won’t be many who have missed the conversations happening around them.
Hundred Acre’s founder and director, Bridget Gilmour, knows from personal experience how important a topic this is. “Hindsight is a wonderful thing.” Bridget explains. “The more I read and learn about mental health issues, the more I realise how far I have come. Years ago, I was nowhere near as happy as I am now in my world. There were times I loved my work though hated my job, times I was bullied and times of unhappiness and despair that on reflection, I can no longer comprehend.
“I will always be so grateful to the individual who quietly said to me one day ‘you should talk to someone. It might help.’ Whatever he saw, he was right. He sowed a seed and one day, without telling anyone, I did something about it. My first conversation was at the doctors as I didn’t know where else to go. They suggested I saw a counsellor. Ever since that day, I’ve had numerous conversations with a number of people that have taken many forms, and I’m so pleased I have.
“Looking back, I made changes and decisions without realising the impact they would have, and some of them were before many of these conversations took place. The most dramatic change was quitting my job, which was clearly a huge decision. In reality, it was also the best decision too. I’ve also made many small incremental changes, from the food I eat, to walking more, to starting to run and even to diarising time for me. I can see now that all these changes have made a huge difference to me and to my world.
“Moments like this allow me to reflect how far I’ve come, how much of an adventure there still is to go and how great it would be if I can help make a difference to someone else’s world by speaking out. Hundred Acre is my safe place for a reason, and I really do aspire for it to be everyone’s safe place.”
Next week is Mental Health Awareness Week (8th – 14th May 2017). We at Hundred Acre will all be part of the conversation as it’s something we all have to tackle together. Bridget will be attending the Mental Health for Health and Safety Professionals event and we will be following everyone’s stories throughout the week for inspiration.
If you need to talk reach out, talk to someone. Whether it’s someone near to you or a professional like a doctor or the Samaritans, people are there to help and support you. For those of you who want to follow people talking about mental health on social media, search for #MHAW17 #oktosay #mentalhealth #mentalhealthawareness or #itsoknottobeok.
If you’d like to find out more about how we can help organisations improve the mental health of their employees, please don’t hesitate to call us today on +44 (0)1933 201103, or contact us via our website. We’re always happy to help.
Hundred Acre – everyone’s safe place