Do you fulfil all of these criteria?

– Realising your potential
– Coping with life’s stresses
– Work productively and fruitfully
– Able to make a contribution to your community?

Well sure, over time I’ve fulfilled all four but all at the same time? These criteria are the conditions
that the World Health Organisation list as defining someone with mental health.

Is it any wonder that the Mental Health Organisation UK are reporting the following statistics
(www.mentalhealth.org.uk):

– Last year 74% of people have experienced overwhelming and debilitating levels of stress.
– On average around 16 people end their own lives every day.
– If we don’t act urgently, by 2030 depression will be the leading cause of disease burden
globally

The internet is awash with wonderful advice for self-care (@_NatashaDevon to mention one) but
what about things we can do for our employees, friends, families or colleagues?
Even within healthcare, an industry that Relaxation for Living & More regularly works within and one
that should arguably be leading the way on mental health behaviour for staff and patients alike we
have witnessed bullying.

While attending training sessions in the past we have seen vulnerable clients with mental health
issues or learning difficulties who have been bullied, sometimes loud comments or just subtle
ridiculing, but there is no intervention from Work Managers or Instructors running groups. Managers
are usually aware but may rely on the vulnerable person raising it as a complaint, which they aren’t
likely to do.

And what about the workplace? Strictly hierarchical organisations where employees are expected to
show a certain amount of subservience are places where the vulnerable can get lost to stress,
bullying and mental illness.

Workplace bullying is described as abusive behaviour that creates an intimidating/humiliating work
environment with the purpose or effect of harming others’ dignity, safety and well-being and is
reported to affect tens of millions of people (QUalisoup, Youtube)

For most of us the effect of rudeness or belittling is an immediate red face and some
embarrassment, or is it? In Simon McCormick’s (@DrSimonMc) excellent blog on rudeness in
healthcare he reports that someone who is a victim of rudeness will experience a 60% reduction in
cognitive ability. Imagine that they work in an industry that is set up to support wellbeing and
imagine once more that as healthcare workers or patients that they have their own complex mental
health needs.

And where rudeness results in a 60% reduction in cognitive ability, bullying has more severe
consequences; destroying confidence, disfiguring lives and leading to deteriorating mental health.

So, in summary, what can we do to help our fellow human beings navigate through the world with
better mental wellbeing:

– Managers or trainers: keep an eye out in group environments, especially where you’re
seeing signs of subtle or overt belittling
– Ensure you foster an atmosphere of support and positivity
– Have the courage to gently but firmly counter negative responses aimed at individuals
– Take someone aside and give them a quiet word of support; it goes a long way.