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It Takes Courage – by Barbara Babcock

The first month of 2013 is drawing to a close and just before it does, I wanted to share this blog with you. As the person introducing the blog wrote, ‘…it is perhaps the most important of all to publish, because it is a first-hand account of a topic we still shy away from discussing openly: mental health.’

I think the title of this blog is apt, ‘Courage’. Even though the author chose to remain anonymous, it took courage to write about one’s experience of working in HR and having a mental health issue, when it is still topic people avoid talking about or they talk about it in a derisory manner. Also, people with a mental health issue often feel they are in a vicious circle at work. The person is afraid of disclosing their mental health issue for fear of limiting their promotion and career opportunities1 or being first in line in the next round of redundancies2.

There was such a strong response to this blog, that an even called ‘HR for Mental Health’ was organised in conjunction with the charity Mind, the mental health charity which exists to make sure people with a mental health issue do not have to face it alone. The event is now sold out, which I think and hope demonstrates the interest companies have in supporting employees who have mental health issues.

Here is the link to the blog. I do not know how much longer it will remain up, so make sure to read it soon.

If this blog has prompted you to reflect on how you and your organisation approach mental health and what more you want to know about it, here are some great starting points.

Mind provides consulting and training to organisations on how they can support employees who have mental health issues. It also provides urgent and non-urgent guidance for people who are or think they might be experiencing mental health issues. –

The Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD) in conjunction with Mind has produced guidance on mental health in the workplace. It includes ‘practical advice and templates to help managers facilitate conversations about stress and mental health issues and put in place support so employees can stay well and in work.’ It is free and accessible to all via this link.

Given the financial pressures and reduced job security of the current economic climate, the on-going issues of life we all come across, and the ever increasing pace of change, mental health in the workplace is something I believe we can no longer ignore.

1NHS Health and Wellbeing Final
Report (2009)2 Populus poll for Mind

Written by: Barbara Babcock (L&D Consultant and Coach)

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