Joseph Shambrook

Let's talk about mental health

Talking about any kind of mental health is never, ever, easy. There’s a sense of dread, embarrassment, reluctance. A sense that the person or people who are currently listening to you don’t give a damn about your life because they have their own problems. Even the most outgoing, over-confident, successful of people can feel these fears and feelings, but they just get over it, so you should too. All of these feelings, they’re all just in your head, they don’t matter. Right?

Wrong.

Our brains are weird. Super weird. They can invent whole stories and unjustified doubts in an instant, even if, just a few seconds before, you were feeling rather good about yourself. These doubts can manifest themselves, grow to a point where people don’t feel like getting up in the morning and not knowing why. When these feelings and doubts are not expressed or taken care of, they can get a lot worse, to the point where life just doesn’t seem like living, which is a pretty scary thought.

So, this stuff can get pretty deep, and can be genuinely dangerous and frightening. But why should I talk about this stuff in a workplace rather than people already very close to me, with people I don’t even feel close enough to add on Facebook yet?

Because, there needs to be an outlet.

The fact is, you know someone who is suffering or has suffered from mental health issues, such as depression. If you don’t know someone who’s suffered or suffering publicly, then you know someone who’s suffered or suffering privately. Talking about these things with anyone can have unexpected positive results. There doesn’t need to be answers, but there does need to be an outlet, somewhere to speak about your worries or what’s going on. Support can come from anywhere, and it makes sense for the people that you spend the majority of your week with, to be the people that can also listen, help and support.

I’m a humble Product Developer at AND Digital. I only joined back in September 2017, so really, I’ve only just graduated from n00b status. I love writing code on a daily basis, and I’m definitely not an expert on mental health. Talking about mental health in a workplace hadn’t factored into my work life at all before AND Digital, because it didn’t really seem relevant. Just write code, and deal with your personal stuff elsewhere. It didn’t take long for my mind to change though, and after only a couple of discussions with my colleagues here (fashioned as a “Coffee and Chat”), I already feel more aware of my own mental health.

My key takeaway from all this, is this; if you feel like you’re suffering, in any way, there is tons of support out there. Despite occasional intuition, there are people that do want to listen to you, including in the workplace.

If you feel like you need someone to talk to immediately, you can find help at the following: