Emma Tarabay: My struggles with depression and how employers can help millennials like me

Since becoming a Forward Ladies #FutureGeneration Brand Ambassador and joining the panel at the FL National Awards Grand Final, I’ve been more conscious about HOW businesses and industries are supporting those with mental health struggles in the workplace. Now more than ever in the current climate, companies are having to develop and adapt their processes to give extra support to those working from home.

We hear a lot about individuals struggling with mental illness and wellbeing within the workplace, but not much about what is being done to encourage development and support in these environments. With optimism, I hope COVID-19 is a learning curve for those who don’t consider the importance of employee wellbeing on a daily basis. 

I was signed off work back in March due to my mental health and it left me considering what businesses are doing to help employees during a crisis. This by no means is me saying that my job didn’t support me through this – they were great – it’s about how employers can help during these times by establishing a clear support/crisis management strategy. This can only be done if we start to talk about mental health more openly and break the stigma that comes with falling ill in the workplace. 

Everyone knows that we need to start generating more conversations around mental health and there have been various social media movements to encourage kindness and support. It’s not that people aren’t talking about it, because it’s much more common now to see mental health ambassadors pushing to generate conversation. In turn, talking about it will help individuals understand the effects that bad mental health has on everyday productivity, which will further encourage those who are struggling to unite and act upon making the workplace a comfortable, open-minded environment. This will inevitably help to break stigmas surrounding mental health and will allow more room for individuals with these struggles in the workplace to excel in their roles. 

How? Well…
I am very fortunate to have bosses and colleagues who understand mental health and my struggles with depression and anxiety, but there is ALWAYS more that we can do and still such a long way to go before we are able to have a wellbeing process set in place. 

At least 1 in 6 workers experience common mental health problems, including anxiety and depression. These statistics of mental health are only increasing, which is why a lot of businesses and workplaces are working towards a more mindful way of working. People are more conscious that this is a growing issue that is often overlooked. If the wellbeing of your employees isn’t a priority, should you be in a managerial position? It’s about understanding the diversity in your team and how incorporating wellness can improve everyone’s day-to-day work and contribution. 

How can employers help? 
There is so much that businesses can incorporate to consider helping mental wellbeing and ultimately, productivity. 

Build Mindfulness
Into Your Work DayYoga, Meditation, Team Building Days and Mindfulness are just a few examples of what to incorporate into the every-day work culture. This is something that employers should be considering in the interim and upon return to everyday office work-life post COVID-19. 

Give Employees A Voice
It is so simple, but it gives those who are struggling, a voice and opportunity to improve workplace wellbeing for others. There are so many workshops available and to teach others how to approach wellbeing in a professional environment. 

Make Face to Face Connections
Whilst COVID-19 continues to restrict social distancing, the development in digital technologies are becoming more crucial than before. Zoom, Skype and Facetime are all becoming great outlets for boosting employee morale during these challenging times. 

Have funQuizzes, catch-ups and meetings all continue to provide a sense of reality to those currently working from home. 

For others, it’s just about being more keeping communication lines open and being aware that wellbeing is a rising concern for employees and that in the current climate, it’s inevitable that people will be may occasionally struggle. It’s about being more aware of these issues and struggles in the workplace, and creating solutions and offering support to those in crisis situations. 

Be Open-Minded 
The bottom line is, it’s about being openminded. A lot of organisations are very much set in their own way, so implementing a morning for mindfulness into the work schedule could be a shock to some. But generating a more open-minded way of thinking will help everyone feel comfortable to cope with their emotions how they need to. It’s a great time to consider trying something new. 

Everyone copes in different ways. We’re all human and we all struggle. It’s ok not to be ok. 

*Post by Emma Jane Tarabay (FL Premium Member)

Do you have questions? Why not join the next free In conversation with Catherine Asta Labbett: 5 Key Happiness Hacks For A Happier & More Successful Year, or invest in yourself and become a Premium Member here.