We should all care for our mental health

Dileep Marway

Posted On: September 26, 2022

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We should all care for our mental health

Mental health is not spoken about enough for me. While it is a buzzword in the industry right now, I do not feel that companies do enough to support and look out for signs of poor mental health.

Having researched online, it is a problem which is growing by the day, and we should support our peers where it is needed.

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel and act. Our inner health is as important as our exterior health – it is important to realise that someone who may be smiling on the exterior may actually be struggling internally.

Key facts

  1. 40% of employees take time off work because of mental health.
  2. Only 1 in 5 employees suffering from mental health confide in their employer.
  3. More than 1 in 2 employees state that they would leave their job if their mental health was not supported.

From my own experience I have been in situations where I have not felt myself and have felt as if I am running on fumes.

Why was this?
Because I was overworked, over stressed and had a lot going on in my personal life.

What did I need?
I needed a break to recharge and this for me meant turning my laptop off and putting it in the draw. The break was needed to spend time with my family and not think about project deliverables.

How did I know that I needed a break?
A simple ‘How are you?’ a question from a peer made me realise that I was not my normal self and I felt over stressed, also I was overly tired out.

I am now enjoying my weekend with my family and I am putting ‘ME’ first.

My advice for leaders is to gauge the mental health and happiness of your team. Your words make a massive difference to people’s lives and I don’t think enough leaders see this.

Yes, delivery is important, though a person’s mental health is even more important. Delaying a release by even a day is better than having it on your conscience that someone has been broken by your decisions.

What are the general signs of mental health concerns to look out for?

  1. General unhappiness.
  2. Anxiety and agitation.
  3. Feeling lonely and isolated.
  4. Anxiety and agitation.
  5. Frequent changes of mood.

A sad statistic is that only 1 in 5 employees suffering from mental health confide in their employer, why is this?

  • People feel ashamed that they cannot handle it alone.
  • They do not want others to feel they are weak and cannot cope.
  • A feeling of being discriminated against.

Having been a mental health champion in the past, I found that my coaching skills really helped. Giving support to others really meant a lot. It is important to remember that we are not robots, rather we should show love and care to one another.

I found that talking to someone independent who is not your manager or leader is beneficial as people are able to speak in confidence to another person in the wider team. If you do not have mental health champions in your workplace I would recommend that this would be a great addition.

A mental model I like to follow is to always denote that it is normal to have a bad day and we should all wait excitedly for the next ‘happy’ day to arrive.

What 5 things can leaders do to support the mental health of their team?

  1. Coach and listen to your team – allow your team to open up and ask open ended questions.
  2. Reassure your team that their views are important, and you are always there to support them.
  3. Look out for signs of change in your team and provide support if needed.
  4. Communicate regularly, give recognition where due and have regular 1-2-1’s.
  5. Support your team ensuring a good work-life balance.

Using a car as an analogy, I liken mental health to when the car may need a service. We are the same and we cannot keep running on 100% as the fuel and car efficiency will falter.

As leaders it is our duty to maintain the health of our team and ensure they are the best possible versions of themselves – mental health is integral to this!

Celebrate all successes – whether small or big. Please do celebrate the fact that you are awesome for reading this article!

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Dileep Marway

Founder of Be More Meerkat (https://bemoremeerkat.com/), where I write blogs on leadership and I provide technology consultancy. I am passionate about the use of technology and innovation to create change, deliver value and solve complex problems whilst improving the lives of users, by using the most effective technology stack. A commercially focused, results driven executive level technology leader with over 15 years experience: leading strategy development and execution, successful digital transformation and delivering organisational, IT change alongside cost effectiveness (to budget), secure and high availability operational IT. Extensive experience of outsourcing and managing IT delivery in multi-site environments. Strongly focused on partner selection and management, actively managing IT and change risk with an emphasis on quality assurance (QA), and full review of technology and engineering effectiveness. I create, scale and optimise business portfolios that bring customer success and better service. To accomplish this, I focus on delivering key outcomes and building “high performing” teams. I act as a bridge between the C-suite and the technology technical teams.

Blogs: 16



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