In the first of our planned series of guest blogs, Chelsie Gladstone, Health & Safety Advisor at L & W Wilson (Endmoor) Ltd shares her very personal experiences and explains how we could all do more to support those facing mental health issues.
“I am the daughter of a mother who committed suicide so mental well being is a subject that I am all too familiar with and have always been empathetic about. My mother took her own life 28 years ago when I was just 2 years old.
Mental health wasn’t a subject that was widely discussed or understood then and my mother’s mental health was only apparent after the event and the extent only became a realisation once the inquest concluded. It is wonderful to see, as an industry that we are recognising this, still taboo subject, and trying to do more to help those in need.
Some days in work my phone can be non-stop. I can feel like Dear Dierdre occasionally, listening to personal issues, work issues etc. Do I mind? Absolutely not! I would rather take the calls, be that person to listen, advise, help! Doing whatever I or as a business, we possibly can!
We have currently got an employee who suffers from severe depression and anxiety. This employee is one of our top performers. We don’t and can’t rely upon him, we just ride with him. He may be in one week and not the next. Some people would ask why do we bother and persist with his employment? It’s because we want to! He explains that some days he will get up, shower, get changed have breakfast and gets to the front door and just cannot physically leave. Other days he comes in and is one of the happiest employees we have, the usual mental health signs! We make sure we accommodate what he is happy with, his work time, the people he works with!
This is an illness he has battled with from a young age. An illness where he has had Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), various medications, appointment after appointment but ultimately an illness where he has battled with people who don’t understand. Whilst we are running a business, who are we to say that this employee can’t work if he wants too?! There will certainly be no benefit in terminating his employment that won’t help him or us. It would also add a financial burden to his already existing issues. Whilst he and his Doctor are happy with our mutual agreement, then we are all happy! We will continue to monitor each and every one of our employees and make the necessary adjustments where required.
As we know mental health doesn’t look unwell does it?! We would hold a door open for someone in a wheelchair!
I may be a ‘suicide’ daughter but I will always be a mental health friend! I was too little to understand and know what I do now…. I couldn’t help then, I didn’t know how to listen or what to say!
I am great believer in people both personally and professionally; Be Kind! Be there! Listen!”
If you have a story, an experience, or even a view point to share, that relates to health and/or safety, we’d love to hear from you. Please send your blog to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll do our very best to share it!