Something a bit different this week… so let’s get into it.
Back in 2009, I worked with a client in Auckland named Rodger. Rodger was the General Manager of a service provider to people who have experienced some form of mental health. Whilst taking the brief for the role I was recruiting, he said to me “Brad, one in three New Zealanders experiences some form of mental health”. “So when you are sitting there having a beer with your two mates, you look to the left and ask yourself, is it him and to your right… is it him?” “If it isn’t, it is most likely you”.
That statement made quite an impact on me and is something I have resorted back to many times as I have sunk a beer or two with my mates or watched an interview on television. Or in the workplace sitting there in a meeting and wondered “which one of you, are quietly suffering or travelling along on their journey to wellness”? “Do you have support or do you need it”? Something to that tune.
You see, we simply just don’t know what the person or people next to us are going through. So I tend to do my best to be polite in most of my dealings.
So what’s the point of all this you ask?
From my desk, I see literally dozens of social media updates daily about awareness of these issues, posts about “the door is always open”, some new wellness programme, flexible hours, work life balance, mental health days, clips of John Kirwan melting down on the field, Mike King joining then quitting a government suicide prevention panel of recent, sports stars taking time out to recoup from a breakdown and just last week another one of my musical idols, Chris Cornell taking his own life.
If our heroes are not immune to suffering, does that mean we are any better off?
What I have learnt is that we are a world of people who are under immense pressure for one or more of many reasons. And if you are an adult like me, there is a chance that you experience times in your life, be it very briefly or for extended periods of time where it all seems too much.
Just remember, like the dozens of messages you receive through your social media streams and the obvious increase of messages, blogs and news articles – people want to help you. They really do. Don’t shut down or listen to the advice of “harden up mate”.
Do something about it… what have you got to lose? Speak up, you might find you have more in common with that person than you knew.
Because just like Rodger said… if it wasn’t your mate to the left or right, it was probably you. Rodger was right, it was me and if I can ask for help, you can too.
That's something Sir John knows all too well, having battled his own demons and lived to help others through that minefield of doubt.