Talking about mental health at work – why we strive to be a stigma-free workplace

Every time I share my story or discuss what I’ve learned with others at work I make a little progress

We wrote in our last post about how it was feedback from a team member about their mental health that spurred us into taking the Time to Change Pledge. The openness of this team member in talking about their mental health issues was so encouraging, we wanted to ensure that every single team member felt that same level of safety at User Conversion to open up if they needed to – without fear of stigma or judgement – and to provide us with that all important feedback so that we can keep doing better to support our people.

In signing the pledge, we recruited 9 internal mental health champions, who volunteered to lead on activities and initiatives that will help support the mental health of our teams, and encourage open conversations about mental health at work. A huge part of this is our champions being open themselves; starting the conversations, and sharing their positive experiences of sharing their problems with people at work.

One of our mental health champions shared the following:

“For a long time, I was afraid of being judged or looked down on for my mental health struggles, so I wouldn’t tell anyone about it. But to lose that fear, I first needed to stop judging myself, and treating it like a shameful secret. Every time I share my story or discuss what I’ve learned with others at work I make a little progress. I counter that little voice in my head that says that it should be kept away or hidden.”

The benefits to this individual of knowing they can speak about their mental health struggles and be supported, not judged, is immeasurable, but the benefits of sharing this story go way beyond that. If the act of opening up about mental health can in itself help to support good mental health, we want to encourage that as much as possible.

Healthy teams are essential for a healthy business, and so for our team, hearing a colleague talk about the positive impact of sharing their mental health struggles with people at work, is incredibly powerful in encouraging open discourse – there’s no better way of demonstrating that when we say we are a supportive, stigma free workplace, we really do mean it.