By Richard Lawrence-Allen
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 1 in 4 people will suffer from some form of mental or neurological disorder throughout their lives. Mental illness is still a subject that is greatly stigmatised, but here at RSVP we are committed to tackling this stigma and get people talking about their experiences.
Thousands of people in the UK alone take their own lives each year and this is the leading cause of death for men under the age of 50. Over 6000 suicides are registered in the UK each year, equating to roughly one suicide committed every 90 minutes. Nevertheless, recent statistics showed that only 27% of people who died from suicide between 2005 and 2015 had been in contact with mental health services in the year before they died.
Some people see mental health problems as a sign of weakness or as a burden on those around them they need to hide, but this could not be further from the truth. Half of those that end their own lives suffer from major depressive disorder, a widely misunderstood condition. Depression is a mood disorder that can affect anyone, and around 3 million people have been diagnosed within with is condition the UK alone, more than the entire population of Wales. It is believe that around 1 in 10 people will experience depression in their lifetime.
Many factors can contribute to depression and will vary person to person. Symptoms of depression can include (but are not limited to): a persistent sad, anxious or empty mood, irritability, fatigue, restlessness, as well as physical signs such aches and pains, headaches and digestive problems without a clear physical cause. If you believe that you may be experiencing depression, it is best to see someone right away, as the sooner the problem is addressed, the sooner you will receive the help you need. Friends and family are great support networks for those with depression, but it is also important to go and see your local GP for advice and treatment as well. People will happily see their doctor regarding a physical illness, but often neglect to seek help with mental illnesses. It is important not to separate these two things, and to look for treatment regardless of whether your illness may be physical or mental.
Here at RSVP we encourage our staff to talk openly about their mental health issues and to seek help and advice from our HR team and Mental Health Champions whenever they need it. This is of vital importance to us as a company; a happy and healthy staff is key to any successful business.
Every year, Blue Monday, typically the third Monday in January, is declared ‘the most depressing day of the year’. This concept was first publicised as part of a press campaign by the holiday company Sky Travel in 2005, based on calculations on weather conditions, time since the Christmas holidays, etc. and is an idea that has persisted ever since. The idea of Blue Monday, and the formula behind it, is greatly derided as nonsensical pseudoscience, however, we thought that we would take advantage of this occasion to get people talking about mental health.
Here at RSVP we decided to reclaim Blue Monday, adding all of the other colours of the rainbow to make it Multi-Coloured Monday. Promoting this to staff as a time to reflect on their mental well-being, we preceded the event by sending out recommendations for meditation apps and relaxation playlists. Come the big day, we provided staff colouring pencils and designs to complete and left various quizzes around the break areas for people to have a crack at throughout the day.
What a perfect day for a spot of colouring.
The colouring pages were particularly popular as a nice relaxing exercise for staff to let out their creativity with, and we saw some lovely designs all over the office.
We definitely have some budding artists in the office!
Our lovely friends at The Work Perk also provided us with samples of Yes! Snack Bars to try this week, which we handed out as part of our Multi-Coloured Monday celebrations.
Free food will never fail to put a smile on our faces!
RSVP is making a strong commitment to keep talking about mental health and this marks the first of many company-wide events that we wish to hold to highlight this to staff. Stay tuned for our next mental health related event coming soon!
If you have any problems with mental health issues, there are many places that can offer support. Your local GP is the best place to go, as well as friends, family, employers and mental health charities such as Mind. To learn more about the support that Mind can offer, as well as find more information about depression and other common mental illnesses, please check out their website here: https://www.mind.org.uk/