ISPP 2015

Career Opportunities in Pharmacy
What’s stopping us from talking about mental health at work

Why don’t we talk about
mental health? Well that’s quite a good one. It’s fear, It’s painful, It’s humiliating. People don’t understand. Because we can’t see it, it’s hard to describe. People will talk about broken
bones and don’t like to be seen as
weak or having something wrong
with them. But if you’re to
admit that there’s something wrong
with your mind I think it scares you and it scares other
people because they just don’t know… …don’t know how to
deal with it. We’re worried we’ll
opensome kind of Pandora’s box that there’s no end to. Would a work manager
panic and not know what to
do and think that it’s not okay to
talk about that. From a manager’s
perspective, you can often get
stuck in the rush of the day, and you can be 
percieved by people as too busy to be bothered with
that. They think that the
employer will see it as a
vulnerability. I think it takes
courage too from an employer’s
point of view to actually be willing
to engage. What is stigma? Give me some examples. Stigma?! Basically stigma
is judgement or pre-judgement. Any kind of worry that
you might not be hard enough, tough enough for this industry. Assumptions that you
make about people. It’s this idea of
weakness. I am less able to perform the work
that I’ve been engaged to perform… because I have a
mental illness. People tend to make
assumptions based on their sphere
of existence or their own
understandings and then project that onto
other people. If I could pick from a
whole lot of high quality people why would I choose
this guy when he’s got these issues
that I don’t really want to
deal with. In other words I am a liability in some way. The media always associates mental unwellness and
stuff with violence. Touched by Satan. Being seen as kind of
dangerous. It’s one of those
things that can make it difficult
for someone who does experience
mental illness to want to
participate or share their story or have a conversation
about it. Are mental health issues
relevant at work? Yes they are. Fullstop. I think it’s relevant
to talk about mental health at
work because you’re people. And everyone needs to
be themselves so, you have to act
like people rather than a machine. The work environment
can exacerbate existing illnesses, or conversely can ameliorate them. Weirdly there are people that think
we are… should be perfect and that we are
professionals, so we do things right. Every single person in
their team brings their whole self to work. Not just the work self, they bring the argument
they had with their partner and the kids who’ve gone off
the rails and all the rest of it,
including mental health issues. And while that doesn’t
mean you’re going to come with all
your emotional baggage and dump
it there, that’s not appropriate
but there’s someting about
being able to be a whole person that
brings your humaneness. If you can’t then you’re not able to
express your full humanity. You know it’s the
rich tapestry of life, we’re all
different. We’re human beings first, and we’ve got to be
allowed to be human beings and then
we can build our profession
into that. When someone has
an understanding of where you’re at, then things can be
worked through a whole lot better. I mean in any
environment if you’re recognised
as a whole person,
then you’re going to be feeling a
lot more giving and included in
that culture. It doesn’t matter
if I’m at work or at a park or watching a movie my mental health is
everywhere with me. Looking after your
mental health at work and your employee’s
mental health will just benefit the complete ripple
effect of benefiting the whole

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