Tomorrow, February 6th 2020, is an important day for your calendar. It is ‘Time to Talk Day’. This is a day encompassing all things mental health – the day where it is your time to open up to those around you.
Although mental health should be a topic that is accessible all year round, it can be difficult in certain situations (however wrong that may be). Having a day to focus and reflect is therefore important for the topic to become more approachable long term as it starts the conversation flowing.
Mental health is often seen as a ‘taboo’ subject, even this day in age. With approximately 1:4 people in the UK experiencing a mental health problem every year, it is imperative to personal recovery that the people around you are aware of how to help. This is where Time to Talk Day becomes the shining star. Awareness is key to rejecting the ‘taboo’ nature – mental health is not something to be ashamed of or to be hidden away. It’s real, and it happens to 1:4 of us every year.
There are various ways to approach the matter with the people around you, but one of the most difficult places to start the conversation is often the workplace. Within our team, we are attentive and approachable – we are very lucky to work in the team that we do. This is not always the case, which is unfortunate. Within my research, I’ve found a fantastic website: Mental Health at Work. They have a variety of resources and a blog, as well as a kit for Time to Talk Day to begin the conversation in your place of work through games and discussion points.
It is important for your employer to be aware of any health issue you have as it can affect your work, and there are ways they can help you. You wouldn’t hide a broken leg from them, and mental health is no different. In 2014, it was reported in a RCVS survey that 90% of Veterinary Surgeons find their job to be stressful. This is undeniably understandable and finding a way to limit stress is so important – for your clients, your patients, your work colleagues and most importantly… for you. As someone who works in the veterinary industry you are naturally compassionate, and the pressure of feeling like you’re not working effectively for your patients can be crippling. Therefore, working out a way to limit stress will help you perform to the best of your abilities, which is where your employer can help.
If you’re struggling with opening up in that way, which is understandable, there are other routes you can take to step towards receiving help:
- Talk to someone you trust. Whether that be friends, family, a partner… whoever you like! Someone who knows you closely will often notice signs, whether they’ve realised it fully or not. They know you and can be a support system for taking the next step.
- Talk to a professional. Whether it’s a Doctor, a specialist or a self-referral system in your area, there is always help out there. Do your research, or if you’re struggling ring your GP practice for advice as to who is best to talk to.
- In the veterinary industry, there are various organisations who can help you, these include (but are not limited to):
4. If you feel you need assistance personally, separate from the veterinary industry, you can find support from organisations such as these:
5. If you need immediate help, if for example you are in danger, ring 999 or 111 and they will guide you in the correct direction.