It's OK Not To Be OK - World Mental Health Day 2018
We understand the importance of Mental Health at Square One. A few of our employees have shared stories today about their struggles with mental health and the support they received here at Square One. It's OK not to be Ok.
"Mental health day is very important for all to be aware of, it is still a very taboo subject to discuss and be in the know about. The reason I say that is because when I first started at SQ1 you can guarantee that no one in the room would guess I suffered with depression, which is why mental health is such a non-discriminative and silent disease. SQ1 helped me through my issues, offering me a supportive nurturing environment and they gave me guidance on where to seek help and what avenues to take to begin to improve my mental wellbeing. This included allowing me time off to attend doctors and counselling sessions, which resulted in me talking to people who had experienced similar issues. They linked me up with a third party provider to organise these external counselling sessions which we receive this as a company benefit which I thought was excellent and all employees are entitled to this service from the day they join. HR and my manager checked in on me regularly on an informal and formal manner and I always knew their door was open and they wanted to hear the updates of my progression.
SQ1 still treated me like everyone else, which was what I needed- to not feel any different. I was supported not only by my close work colleagues, my manager & HR but even the managing director. Everyone was open and approachable. I spoke to SQ1 about my mental health before anyone else like my friends or family as I didn’t want to increase my family’s struggles by letting them know they have a depressed son which in turn would leave me feeling as a burden but SQ1 reassured me that I wasn’t by making me feel a part of the SQ1 family.
12 month’s down the line I am no longer taking medication and through SQ1’s help they have allowed me to open up to those I wouldn’t have before. Their help from day one has been a massive part of not just improving my mental health but my life as a whole, because without them I may not be the person I am today. I thank them for their help and support and will be eternally grateful."
"I appreciate the amount of support SQ1 offered me during probably the worst time of my life. Taking time out where needed was never a problem, SQ1 have the ‘do what you need to do’ attitude. HR and my manager were always there for whatever I needed, whether it was a five minute chat or to get something off my chest. I liked that SQ1 treated me as an individual that didn’t want to be defined by the problems that were happening in my life. All my issues were totally confidential and I felt at ease speaking openly about how I truly felt. I was enrolled onto the 8 1hour face to face counselling sessions with Health Assured, this was paid for by SQ1. Alongside this I was offered constant help and check-ups from the business, flagging any concerns I had. SQ1 were excellent through this time, attentive and allowed me to open up easily. No one ever made me feel embarrassed talking about my problems. SQ1 offered me help more than I set out to seek it, they encouraged me to be open with them – more than I was able to be open with myself. This helped me begin to deal with my issues.
I always knew where to find the support and who to go for certain things. I felt I was always treated as a priority and no one was ever too busy to help. If you want to remain anonymous SQ1 make it easy for you to seek help. The information of external companies that support SQ1 can be found around the office, saved in everyone’s favourite on the internet, so you have all the tools you need even if you don’t want to ask for it. It’s not an employer’s responsibility to deal with people’s mental health, or offer these services but it’s great to know SQ1 values their employee’s wellbeing and cares about every single one of them. Mental health issues aren’t to be dealt with alone, they only get worse. Seeking professional help or advice from friends/family or your employer is the first step. I thank SQ1 for encouraging me to take the first leap towards recovery."
"The issues I experienced with mental health happened before I joined SQ1 and have been an ongoing battle for me. When I first started experiencing symptoms of depression I was confused. If you have never experienced it before you are quick to think it is just you who it affects. After my own research and reaching out to people you realise that you are not unique, a lot of people suffer and especially those my age – young men under 30. My first reaction for this was to go to the doctors and ply myself with pills in order to recover, but I knew this was something I had to get through within my own head and pull myself out of that mind-set. Although I have managed this once I know you can never escape mental health issues and they do come in waves, I know now I have the mental resolve to be able to manage alone. It made me believe I am a lot stronger than I once thought. I have come out the other side from this and it took me almost 2 years to even realise I had a problem. I was in and out of a lot of jobs, I didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning or leave my room. I even struggled to look at myself in the mirror. After realising I had depression I forced myself to make a change and wasn’t going to settle for this life forever.
I love being in a company where I know the help is there if I need it. Although in the past I have dealt with my issues alone, since joining SQ1 it has highlighted to me that there is always an ear there for you should you be drifting back into old habits. I will always remember on one of my first days being in the toilets and seeing information on help line numbers and websites to visit if you found yourself struggling, this put me at ease. Although I didn’t need it at that point I knew that if my demons were to return, the environment around me makes it known it’s okay to ask for help. SQ1 creates an approachable atmosphere, this is not only from HR or managers but from anyone. There is no one I feel like I couldn’t chat to on a personal level. The platforms are out there to help you, these are even outlined in the induction during your first few hours as an employee! As I mentioned earlier I was I spent a period of my life in an out of work due to my depression and I didn’t see this level of support in any of them."
*If you ever need to talk about anything remember there are helplines available to you. Click here if you would like to contact the MIND helpline today*
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