In my first post I wanted to give you a little insight in to my story so far and share with you why mental health is such an important issue for me and what we are hoping to achieve.
I will be posting each week with a mix of articles and features around mental health and what we are up to in a bid to make a positive impact in leading a global shift in mental health – because that is what we intend to do.
First, a little background about me. I have owned and managed businesses in the financial services sector for almost 20 years. After selling my last business nearly 7 years ago, I have worked in the corporate world in various director and consulting roles; and latterly as a strategic development director. I also volunteer with Samaritans, as a listening volunteer, providing support to people in distress.
I first came to offer my skills as a Samaritan because I had experienced a really difficult time in my own life, during which I had experienced depression and anxiety; and which led to a mental break. I was very lucky in that I had great support around me when I needed it and so I had, over time, been able to recover and I wanted to be able to help other people that are experiencing problems and might not have support. During my time as a Samaritan I have supported a great many people, many of whom are living with mental health issues and many who are experiencing suicidal thoughts, are considering suicide or have lost someone to suicide.
Over the years I have become deeply passionate about what I see as an epidemic – 676 million people are affected by mental health issues worldwide – and 800,000 people die by suicide each year globally.
Mental Health issues and suicide affect EVERYONE – in our homes, our businesses, our schools, our prisons, our armed forces – everywhere.
On the 5th March 2018, I lost my partner to suicide.
Mark and I had met through business networking and had spent nearly a year together before he ended his life. I was pregnant with our child at the time of his death but, weeks later, I received another devastating blow when our baby died and I had to undergo a surgical miscarriage.
I will never know what Mark was thinking when he made the decision that he did but I do know for certain that he must have seen this as his only option. Those of us that loved him – me, his family and his friends, did not see that this was coming, we had no opportunity to help him. Dealing with the aftermath of this has been horrendous for everyone that loved him and I hope that something good can come out of all of this.
I saw early on that perhaps there was a purpose for me in all of this.
Everything that I have experienced this year; my own prior battle with depression, anxiety and alcohol misuse; and my experiences as a Samaritan has made me want to share my experience and to be a part in effecting change. A big change.
Things have to change. We have to change the conversation around mental health. We have to remove stigma and smash taboos and get people talking at work, with their friends, at home, at school, everywhere.
Why is it so important to put a spotlight on mental health?
We ALL have mental health.
“Mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully and is able to make a positive contribution to his or her community”.
(World Health Organisation; 2014)
“Mental Health influences how we think about and feel about ourselves and others and how we interpret events. It affects our capacity to learn, to communicate and to form, sustain and end relationships. It also influences our ability to cope with change, transition and life events; having a baby, moving house, experiencing bereavement”
GOOD mental health is essential and something that I think we should all have the opportunity to have.
My hope for this website, my new business and my ongoing work with the Samaritans is that we will encourage more open discussion and create far better awareness in the corporate world, and in our homes and families on mental health and suicide.
Capitalising on my 20 year corporate career I am now going back into the corporate world and working with organisations to help them to effect change. By working with businesses in both the private and public sector we can raise awareness and change our working culture, creating a much more positive attitude towards mental health. This in turn helps businesses better support the people who work in their organisations.
Corporates that make a cultural change in their business effect their people and their families in a positive way. This has a huge ripple effect.
I feel that this is one way that we can begin to affect real change.
Keep following us for more news and updates.
We officially launch our business on Monday 10th September – World Suicide Prevention Day