Debunking Mental Health Myths

Totem hosted a webinar on 24th October, in partnership with the EEA: Debunking the myths: Mental Health in the Workplace

Mental health has become one of the most spoken about topics in relation to employee engagement and workplace culture. As a result, a number of myths and trends have surfaced that muddy the waters for anyone trying to make an impact in their organisation. 

In this webinar, Totem and guests looked to bust some of those myths, and provide people with helpful insights that can be applied to the workplace. Joined by:

Ted Hewett of Totem

Daisy Corfield from Unmind

David Beeney from Breaking the Silence

Jane Austin from Wave Utilities

When we talk about mental health, we’re often met with statistics. The “1 in 4” statistic often crops up to paint a picture of who’s struggling, who’s been diagnosed or prescribed. In reality, what this can do is create further distance between people. When we isolate an ‘issue’ this is where stigma can arise. 

During a little research, Totem’s Ted discovered that in ancient Greek ‘stigma’ was a brand that marked people, such as slaves, as inferior. David Beeney added that we often associate physical health with those in peak condition, whereas mental health is still associated as a taboo. Usually, accompanied by pictures of people with their head in their hands. Therefore, we need to move past this 1 in 4 mentality. 

It’s not 1 in 4,  it’s 1 in 1 … Every one of us has mental health. You do not have to be diagnosed with poor mental health to have poor mental health – David Beeney

So, where do you start?

  • Open up, allow a safe space for people to feel comfortable discussing the topic of mental health. 
  • Start small. Don’t think you have to create this huge beast of a wellbeing programme, it could just as simple as starting with your bereavement policy. 
  • Be kinder. It all begins with relationships between people. 

You don’t have to have gone through a difficult mental health condition to be able to really want to create that culture. Don’t think ‘I haven’t gone through this so I can’t give something back’ – Jane Austin

One of the biggest lessons we learned with our guests is that addressing mental health in the workplace doesn’t need to cost a lot. 

You can be so resourceful with what you do have. It’s not about a big bang, one-off, quick win amazing roadshow with loads of merchandise. That’s not what it is mental health is. It’s with us all the time, so it’s that ongoing way of working – Daisy Corfield

To hear more about the further myths we explored, more on the Wave Utilities story as well as stories from Unmind, Breaking the Silence and Totem – watch the webinar in full below:

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