I don’t think I could put this any better than Katherine does in the first two paragraphs of her piece, so let me just start there:
“You will likely experience a mental health challenge at some point in your life. Recognizing this possibility should motivate you to be a workplace ally for mental health, to treat your colleagues dealing with mental health issues with the empathy you would want under similar circumstances.
Yet the stigma and lack of information about mental health block the way in many workplaces. The myth that people with mental health conditions cannot make meaningful contributions leads to conscious and unconscious bias. We must work together to eradicate the stigma and its devastating impacts. We may struggle with mental health, but we can recover. We can thrive at home and work, and we can help make this possible for each other by being allies, collaborating to create a supportive workplace for all.”
It’s that first line that should grab your attention because so many people do not see mental health struggles as something that impacts them, or will impact them. But the numbers don’t lie. Someone you know, probably even someone very close to you, is dealing with mental health struggles as you read this. Someone you work with is doing the same themselves or supporting someone else who is.
How great would it be if we all recognized that and provided a safe place for them to talk about those struggles instead of not welcoming their voices and causing more harm?
I don’t think we can even imagine how helpful that would be because we see it so infrequently. It’s time for that to change.