Do you believe that mental health as a taboo subject persists? With all the recent press and television coverage on mental health it certainly seems to be less of a taboo than it used to be. Of course there are still some old fashioned managers who deal with mental health in a negative way but there are getting to be less of them and people certainly seem to be less reluctant to talk about the issue. Is it often the case that people don’t realise what their own mental health situation is? It’s almost certainly the case that some people don’t realise when they are suffering from poor mental health as pressures can build up slowly. These pressures may not necessarily begin in the workplace but may stem from external worries such as caring for elderly parents or young children, or from suffering a bereavement. To begin with people may not realise the strain they are under or may think that they can cope or that things will improve but over time that pressure can build up to a breakdown. What do you think can be done to improve understanding of mental health illnesses? Better understanding of mental illnesses will come from continual knowledge, training, and support across the press, businesses and mental health charities. What is the most common misconception? The most common misconception is that it only affects a minority, in fact it affects a lot of people. It’s unlikely that you won’t have a friend or family member who has suffered from stress, anxiety or some other form of mental illness. How do you unwind after a tough week? I don’t have a trick for unwinding after a tough week, I believe you should just not have a tough week. If you spend five days a week stressed out followed by two days recovering in the long term your body will break down. As we get older it takes longer for us to recover. Make sure that you spend your working week managing your work levels so that your weekend can be spent enjoying yourself rather than recovering. Do you have any rituals to improve your own mental health? There’s no magic cure for improving?wellbeing the key is just to keep life, family, health and work in balance.
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