6 things you can do to help remove the stigma surrounding mental health
March 15, 2021
We often get asked the question “What can I do to help to remove the stigma surrounding mental health?”. For us, this is one of our main aims, as removing the stigma helps everyone on the Isle of Man to feel emotionally empowered and effectively supported with their mental health and wellbeing, so here’s 6 things you can do to help.
1. Talk About It
The biggest thing is to talk openly about your own mental health. Lead by example.
When you’re asked, tell your friends and family how you’re really feeling. You can be open if you’re not feeling great, or just let them know that you’re genuinely having a good day.
Be honest if you need a bit of extra support from your loved ones and be clear about what that support is.
2. Ask Others
Encourage others to talk about their mental health. By asking open questions about how someone is feeling, you can open up the door to a conversation.
Equally, it’s important to respect people’s boundaries – if they say they don’t want to talk about it, respect their choice and simply remind them you’re there if they want too, then move on.
Be prepared for what the response might be – this might be making sure you have options to signpost to, or some suggestions of the support you are prepared to offer. You can signpost to online services like Kooth and Qwell, to health services like their GP or other community initiatives.
Support might be a regular catch up, taking them some shopping, or exercising with them. People often appreciate just being asked because it really shows you respect and care about them.
Equally, it’s important to take care of ourselves – don’t offer anything that will put your own wellbeing at risk.
3. Have a Conversation
If you get a feeling that someone is struggling or has been distant with you, ask them how they’re doing and say what you’ve noticed. It gives them an opportunity to open up or clarify a different reason for their behaviour.
If you can, ask them to make time for a phone or video chat, as sometimes seeing someone’s face makes it much easier to talk than over a text. If they say they’re ok, they will most likely appreciate a good old chat with a friend anyway. Who doesn’t need one of those right now?
4. Talk to your Employer
Could your employer do more to support your mental health? Perhaps you feel that your colleague is struggling?
Around 1 in 6 employees experience a mental health or wellbeing issue each year. While the reasons behind it are not always work-related, it is important that employers and their workforce know how to address mental health and wellbeing and support one another.
During a time when we have much less interaction with our colleagues, it’s important to put in place virtual ‘coffee breaks’ to promote those chats that often help people. Your employer may be able to facilitate more flexible working hours, a reduction in duties, or more collaborative ways of working.
Perhaps your employer would like to contact us to discuss workplace mental health awareness sessions, or help staff build their resilience or even train a few employees to be wellbeing first aiders. There’s lots of information and resources on our website so take a look here at the Isle Listen in the Workplace pages of our website.
Your HR department is there to help with any concerns and can often signpost you to lots of good resources.
5. Help us to continue helping our community
Isle Listen is a charitable initiative, and we are funded by the generous support of our community.
We are working hard to bring about change and that starts at a young age by preparing our children and young people to cope with challenges of 21st century life, following this through with our workplace and community initiatives into adulthood.
With this approach we can gradually unpick the stigma surrounding mental health which has existed for many generations and resulted in so many people struggling unnecessarily.
You can help us to be able to continue our vital work by making a one off or regular donation – Donate
6. Fundraising and spreading the word
You might like to take on a fundraising challenge for us and help spread awareness of the importance of mental health at the same time.
The importance of setting and achieving goals for mental health is well documented, as is doing something for others, so this is a really great way to boost your own wellbeing and help others!
Maybe you’d like to undertake a sporting challenge, hold a quiz, sell some homemade items, do a sponsored silence, train to do a half marathon or whatever your passion is, but by becoming one of our fundraisers, you will be helping us to help our community.
Let us know if you have any fundraising ideas and we will be delighted to help you out – email us at firstname.lastname@example.org