Mental illness has no boundaries and affects individuals, families, coworkers, and employers. The cost of mental illness in the workplace is staggering and is forcing leaders to understand how to effectively deal with mental illness to create a mentally healthy workforce.
In 2014, a mental health survey of 800 voters in Massachusetts was conducted by the National Alliance of Mental Illness Massachusetts chapter. The following responses were gathered in response to mental health and peer support in the workplace;
Question 1: Is it best to tell your family about mental health issues OR is it best to keep it quiet:
Answer: 92% responded it is best to tell the family.
Question 2: Is it best to tell your friends about mental health issues OR is it best to keep it quiet:
Answer: 76% responded it is best to tell friends.
Question 3: It is best to tell your co-workers about mental health issues OR is it best to keep it quiet:
Answer: 27% suggest telling a co-worker (Martilla Strategies, 2014)
The literature suggests the approach to dispelling stigma is multi-pronged including; education to dispel myths, protest to reduce stigma and “contact to put a human face on mental illness” (Martin, 2008). The literature also reveals that sharing experiences of mental illness through direct person to person connections “can create long term attitudinal change and affect behavior (Knapp et al, 2007).
This is the reason why I am committed to sharing my personal story of being a top performing, award-winning, high functioning business professional who fought (and hid) my intense battle with major depression, anxiety, alcohol abuse disorder, and persistent suicidal thoughts. My story offers hope and inspiration and allows individuals to know they are not alone and that is ok to not be ok.
A link to my entire research project can be found below.
It’s OK to Not Be OK is a collection of stories of individuals who have the lived experience of mental illness or substance use. Their painful yet inspiring stories of hope are meant to be a “road map” for others to follow to find their way out of the darkness. The authors invite you into their personal world of confusion, pain and suffering and share the tools and wisdom they acquired along the way to turn their struggle into strength.
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“I’ve decided today is truly the day I get help. I wish there were programs like NAMI around the world.
Thank you so much. I really wish I saw this presentation earlier”.
“This presentation made me remember that my mental illness does not make me flawed,
because it is a part of me and no one is perfect”.