Archive for January 12, 2012

Mentally coming out

January 12, 2012

Last night I found myself writing a blog post ready for today on facilitation techniques, which will now probably go up early next week.  However, as I got on with it, I started to listen to a simply brilliant programme on the BBC in the background, in which cricketer Freddie Flintoff spent some time talking to other sporting greats of recent years (and Vinnie Jones) about depression and mental health.

As it wound on I had to leave the relative safety of the keyboard and sit on the sofa as I found myself captivated by it all.  On screen were icons and heroes; people I had read about in the papers for years and who seemingly had the world at their feet – Flintoff, Hatton, Harmison and more – yet all found themselves suffering from mental health issues.  These issues had been hidden at the time they surfaced, covered up with reports of injuries or simply shoved firmly into the background when the white line on the side of the pitch was crossed.  However, all of these people eventually accepted they had an issue and began to find ways of dealing with it.

Mental health is something we have covered on this blog before, and I urge you to take a quick diversion to read a piece from last year which  detailed one officer’s angle on their own mental health struggles.  But have things changed since then?  Have we all come to understand mental health and appreciate the impact it has in the workplace and things we can all do to help others?

In my experience, not yet.  Cultural change on this level will take a long time to bear fruit, but now is a more than opportune time to think about how local government deals with mental health issues affecting its staff, and whether we really are on the road to better places organisationally. (more…)