Talking About Mental Health at Work

Our mental health and well-being affect our work above everything. Taking care of ourselves is not an option; it’s essential.

Today is World Mental Health Day. Mental health and well-being is as important to innovation work as anything else. Our state of mind and that of our co-workers, colleagues, partners, and community affects our social life, physical health, and our ability to make use of the ideas we generate and products we create. It’s worth making every day a mental health day.

In an upcoming issue of the Censemaking Innovation Newsletter we are looking more fully at the mental health and well-being of innovators. As part of that issue, we profile a new podcast that pulls the cover back on mental health at work and are profiling it below.

We’ve also found new research that shows how employees value the opportunity to talk about mental health at work and why it matters for keeping them well and keeping them in the job.

We have nothing without our mental health. Celebrate, support, and care.

The Anxious Achiever: A Mental Health and Work Podcast

What does it mean to live with anxiety and other mental health challenges in the workplace and still seek to perform at the top of your game? That is the focus of a new podcast: The Anxious Achiever. Each episode explores the lives of someone who struggles with mental health challenges and their stories of success, failure, and coping. Host Morra Aarons-Mele speaks from a place of knowledge as she is a self-described anxious introvert and has written extensively on the topic. 

Why this matters: Work is one of the remaining spaces where vulnerability is a real problem for people. It’s difficult to express your needs and fears in a safe way without fear of losing your job, respect of your colleagues, or future opportunities. This podcast reminds people struggling with mental health challenges that they are not alone. It also provides some practical ideas for how to deal with these issues in the workplace while normalizing it for those who do not have such challenges. This might be the most important new work-related podcast in years.

Mental Health @ Work

A new report commissioned by MindShare Partners working with Qualtrics and SAP looked at mental health in the workplace. The report sought to shed light on how people experience mental health challenges in the workplace and what their needs, perceptions, and desires are related to positive mental well-being. The study authors (discussed further in the Harvard Business Review) found that employees are often afraid to speak about mental health issues in the workplace. Nearly 60% of those surveyed reported they had experienced some form of mental health condition in the past year and few felt they had the support they needed to deal with it.

Why this matters. When 3 out 5 people experience a mental health challenge in a year the issue is not an exception, it’s the norm. There are many cultures where the process of healing is viewed as a place of growth and strength, not weakness. We can only turn our pain into strength when we can acknowledge and share our experience of mental health openly, safely, and securely. This is more than an innovative advantage, it’s a basic right.

Photo by Robert Lukeman on Unsplash

Cameron D. Norman

I am a designer, psychologist, educator, evaluator, and strategist focused on innovation in human systems. I'm curious about the world around me and use my role as Principal and President of Cense Ltd. as a means of channeling that curiosity into ideas, questions, and projects that contribute to a better world.

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