Mental Health - It's #TimeToTalk

January 24th, 2017 in Recruitment

A young man wearing glasses smiles. "There's not a lot I can't talk about at Home Group" #TimetoTalk

Home Group takes my mental health seriously.

Maybe there’s a looming deadline, or it’s raining, or perhaps you just fancy a lie in – whatever the reason, we’ve all struggled to get out of bed at some point in our lives. Because of that, I’ve encountered bit of a ‘pull yourself together and get on with it’ culture in past jobs. After all, is there any worse reason to call in sick for work than not being able to get up in the morning?

I’ve spoken before about being diagnosed with, and managing, clinical depression. Medication helps me stay on an even keel but pills are only part of the solution. Working for an organisation that understands the impact of mental health issues on their employees is itself a form of treatment.

The environment at Home Group is such that colleagues are able to have open, and honest conversations with each other about issues without the worry of being stigmatised. Understanding each other and our customers is encouraged through endeavours such as the Human Library, a national group of clients, customers and colleagues who identify with a particular diversity group (eg; LGBT, people of different faith, people of different races, etc.) and are willing to speak to others about their lives and share their experiences.

I am transgender, and this is the first job I have applied for whilst identifying as male. Being transgender is not a mental illness, but it does cause me significant mental discomfort on a regular basis which may be linked to my depression. Certain things can trigger this discomfort, also known as gender dysphoria. They range from how I feel when I look in the mirror in the morning, to someone unknowingly misgendering me.

Being able to come to work and be myself without worrying about prejudice is a huge weight off my shoulders. And it doesn’t happen often, but I know I can tell my manager if I am having a bad mental health day and can’t face coming into the office. I know my colleagues understand when I am having a bad day and, through conversations we have had, they know how to support me.  

There’s not a lot I can’t talk about at work, but when I lost my dad to cancer in 2016 I knew I needed specialist help. Colleagues have access to Care First – an information and support service which is available 24/7, and Home Group work with Team Prevent who provide occupational health services.

Most importantly, my mental health is taken seriously at Home Group. Too often I have been written off as ‘lazy’ for not being able to go to work, but that has not and will not be a problem here. I’m so proud of every day I get out of bed, regardless of the struggle it takes to do so, but I know that if the day comes when I can’t do it – my employer will be there to support me.