While it is important during this global health crisis that we isolate to reduce the spread of disease, distancing to keep everyone safe does have a downside. Many people will be suffering from higher levels of stress, anxiety and even depression, making it more difficult to live their daily lives.
In times such as this, it’s critical to remember that it's absolutely okay, not to feel okay and there is also no shame in getting help.
Looking after your team’s (and your own) mental health should be a top priority, so we reached out to our friends across the globe to collect some of our favourite tips from mental health support organisations that are quick and easy to implement at any time.*
Tip. Stay busy and social, at a distance
Staying connected during isolation can be very tough but the team at MensLine have some great advice to help you find ways of keeping connected.
“Take the time to practice self-care when isolated. Do the things you love – cook, read, or connect with others (virtually). Even if you are physically restricted, support is available over the phone or online. Many cultural institutions, artists and comedians are making free content to help everyone stay connected during COVID-19. Recognise we are all in this together, and stay in touch online to share your experiences.”
Find more great tips from MensLine visit their website.
Tip. Don’t be too proud to ask for help
Have you heard of these conversation starters? TradeMutt is an Australian social enterprise that is trying to make the invisible issue of mental health in the trade industries a global conversation. They have wonderful resources and tips for starting conversations at work and combating the challenge around mental health.
“There is a massive opportunity right now and it is yours to grab hold of. Given the strain on communities and hip pockets, it might be time to reach out and receive some support. The opportunity is not to grab a free handout, it’s far bigger than that. It’s time to learn how to ask for help.“
Find more great tips from TradeMutt by visiting their website.
Tip. Don’t cut yourself off from others
The Ministry of Health website is a great resource during this time. With access to the top experts across the country, they have up-to-date information and helpful advice which is easy to access.
“Self-isolation doesn’t mean cutting off all communication - in fact, it’s more important than ever to talk and listen, share stories and advice, and stay in touch with the people who matter to you. organise a virtual coffee or lunch with your friends or schedule a daily phone call with an elderly relative or neighbour.”
Find more great tips from the Ministry of Health visit their website.
Tip. Find ways to be active
The Mental Health Foundation have been supporting the wellbeing of New Zealanders since 1977! As aA charitable trust, they have wonderful resources for locating support in your local community.
“We know this is a tricky one without gyms or sports but it can be done! Play ‘the floor is lava’ with the kids, do a yoga class online, try out a new workout on YouTube, go for walks or runs outside (just stay 2m away from others!), use the cans in the pantry as weights, stretch.”
Find more great tips from the Mental Health Foundation visit their website.
Tip. Discuss your fears with someone you trust
“If you are feeling anxious or worried about the coronavirus then it can be good to get someone else’s point of view. Think about who you speak to - speaking to someone else who is struggling might not be best. Find somewhere quiet where you can sit down and chat openly and honestly about your feelings and your concerns. It is easy to get overwhelmed in our own pattern of negative thoughts, so talking these though can help break those cycles.”
Rethink is a national organisation providing support and working tirelessly to transform the lives of everyone severely affected by mental illness. They provide over 200 services, 140 local support groups and run campaigns that bring about real change.
If you would like to explore the available resources visit https://www.rethink.org.
Tip. Ask for the support you’re entitled to
It’s important to feel comfortable to ask for what you need. “We’re entitled to the support and reasonable adjustments we need to manage our job to the best of our ability. Asking for the things we need to help us manage our mental health is no different from a wheelchair user asking for a ramp to get into the office. We’re not being needy or ‘a pain’, we’re proactively managing our mental health.”
Blurt it Out is a social enterprise dedicated to those with depression. They work to remove the stigma around depression and support people from diagnosis through to getting help and beyond!
Find more great tips visit their website https://www.blurtitout.org.
Tip. Create an environment where people feel comfortable to ask for help
Trade and construction workers are at a higher risk for suicide due to mental and physcial exhaustion, seasonal layoffs and other factors. Your company can make efforts to prevent suivide by making room for conversations around suicide and depression.
The Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention helps educate and equip industry service providers to address suicide prevention as a health and safety priority.
“Moving from jobsite to jobsite can create an environment in which workers are not as connected to their families, each other, or a workplace community. Coupled with working long or irregular hours, sleep patterns can be impacted, causing sleep deprivation and mental and physical exhaustion.”
If you need resources or support to help you create a ‘safe space’ for staff visit the Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention website at https://preventconstructionsuicide.com/about.php.
Tip. Write out your thoughts
Writing about a difficult event can help you feel better by offering an emotional release, providing insight into your feelings, and helping you organise your thoughts. If you’ve had a stressful day at work or are feeling anxious, consider writing it out!
The Mental Health Association of America suggests, “when your feelings start to bubble up and get overwhelming, putting them on paper can help you untangle them. Try a stream of consciousness exercise: 10 minutes of writing down all your thoughts without hesitating. Or make a list of things stressing you out—seeing them reduced to bullet points can help you think more clearly.”
For more helpful tips and resources for dealing with hard times, managing stress and promoting overall mental health visit the MHAA at https://www.mhanational.org/.
We believe that supporting the mental health of you and your team is now more important than ever.
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If you would like to speak to someone we have included the numbers and websites for some important support services below.
*Please note that simPRO do not endorse these organisations but provide them as resources for self directed support.