Stories of our impact

Let’s talk about mental health

She was newly married and managing a busy and successful consulting career when life, as it sometimes does, became overwhelming. He was on a career high when anxiety struck suddenly and unexpectedly. She was recently promoted and taking her side role as an auntie very seriously. He decided to train to become a yoga instructor with his wife. They have also all battled depression and anxiety over the years.

Everyone has a story, and mental illness is only ever one part of it. Jacqui, Tom, Charlotte, Ros, Helen and Tim came together in a series of video interviews to share their experiences of overcoming poor mental health. Opening up on camera wasn’t easy, but they wanted to inspire others to speak up and seek help if they were struggling.

A topic worth talking about

Poor mental health does not discriminate; it is blind to gender, ethnicity, seniority and age. Although not always visible, it directly affects one in four of people in the UK, and it is likely that everyone will know someone who is struggling with mental ill health. Nine out of ten people with mental health issues say that discrimination has a negative effect on their lives, and over 6,500 people each year take their own lives as a result of poor mental health.

Part of the Lord Mayor’s Appeal ‘This is me’ campaign to tackle the stigma around mental health in the workplace, the group decided to share their personal experiences of dealing with poor mental health. They wanted to remind us that they are not defined by their experiences, and make it easier for others to talk about mental health too.

Inspiring conversations

The campaign kicked off with a group interview that was shared both within the firm and on YouTube. Individual interviews followed to delve deeper into their personal stories, from the moment they realised they needed help, to feeling confident about coming back to work. We heard about how they manage their conditions day by day by talking about it with colleagues and making time for the things that matter – from playing the violin to netball with friends and crochet.

So how did people respond? 

The videos have been watched over 4,000 times, but the best part was the discussion that resulted from them. The group received emails telling them this mattered as much to the mother who shared it with her son suffering from clinical anxiety to show him he “will be okay” as it did to the colleague who felt reassured it was “okay to talk” after suffering with depression in silence for ten years. Each of them heard stories from parents, colleagues and friends saying the videos had given them the courage seek help themselves for the first time, or that they’d been moved to understand mental health in a new way.

These six inspiring stories combined with over one hundred experiences shared through the ‘This is me’ campaign reached over 420,000 people across the UK. When it comes to breaking the stigma surrounding mental health, courage may come from one individual, but strength comes in numbers.