Five things you can learn from talking about Mental Health

For the third day of Mental Health Awareness Week at OMD UK, we were joined by the inspiring Sean Betts, MD of Annalect, who bravely shared the story of his mental health journey with us. From such a powerful talk, there are hundreds of things you can take away, all of which help to destigmatise mental health and truly open up the conversation.

Here are five things that really resonated with me:

  1. Everyone’s experience of mental health is different

Mental health knows no boundaries. It doesn’t only affect people from 9-5, it’s with you all the time and like our physical health, everyone experiences it differently. Sean’s story is unique to him, and he was very open around how his situation doesn’t mean it’s the same for everyone. Mental health has such a broad spectrum, and even within one diagnosis, how it affects one individual from another varies vastly.

  1. Maintenance of your mental health is key

Going through struggles with your mental health teaches you to become considerably more self-aware. You know your boundaries, you know how you feel when things are starting to get a bit too much to handle, and you know what you need to do to feel better. Whether it’s going to the gym three times a week like Sean, or prioritising a catch-up with your best friend, you know the best ways to maintain your mental health and this is incredibly important to your own wellbeing.

  1. Learning to say no is important

Realising what you can and can’t do is something which not only helps you but also those around you. Asking for help isn’t a display of weakness, and by delegating tasks, you’re making your life more suitable for you and empowering the people around you. Realising you can’t always be the person who takes on everything, no matter how much you want to be, is so important.

  1. It makes you a better leader

Through being open about your mental health, you’re creating a community of authenticity and honesty, which is key for working well together as a team. Even though your thoughts might make you feel like you’re alone, that really isn’t the case. Having that openness is key to nurturing relationships with your colleagues, which in turn makes for a happier and more productive team. Who doesn’t want that?

  1. You’re the only person who can help you

If you feel like you may need to have a chat with someone and open up, your choice to do this will be the first step in prioritising your mental health and making a change for the better. At OMD we have Mental Health First Aiders who are on hand to be the first point of call; we’re all trained in being there for you in the first instance and are able to offer support and guidance without judgement.

I have a lot of respect and admiration for Sean for opening up and I hope his talk has encouraged more people to be more open to talking about their own experiences and to help others.

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