I had the privilege of being invited to Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) earlier this week to sit in the front row at an event that was organised by the PwC Disability Network. The aim of the evening was to discuss mental health / stress in the workplace. Imagine an office. The desks are spread out in clusters / little groups of 4. One person in each of those groups of four in the office is likely to experience some sort of mental health problem in their life time.
There was a brilliant panel of speakers, which included Ruby Wax, who spoke candidly and honestly about mental health / depression. She started her talk with this amazing quote about Eeyore. Other speakers included a PwC employee who has Bipolar and she described how she managed her illness at work.
The questions at the end were mind-blowing. It was great to see such a large corporation taking mental health in the workplace so seriously. One man admitted that he didn't think he had ever met someone with a mental health problem. I was amazed... Of course he will have done - just not knowingly..
There were well over a hundred people in the audience (pic below) - all taking a special interest in mental health. It was a very appropriate talk for me to listen to - as I am entering the world of work. The people who turn up to these sorts of events are the ones who are well informed - its their partners / loved ones / families that aren't, who are missing out - so we wish more of them had been there.
It made me think - what if I apply for a job this week and a potential employer googles my name and stumbles across my blog? What if I have a wobble in the work place? What I also came away thinking was certain - wherever I land a full time job in the coming months, I really hope it is somewhere that takes mental health awareness / stigma as seriously as that at PwC.
The evening concluded with a brief "practical" session from Mindapples - we were each given a cut out template of an apple bauble (pic below) and had to write down 5 things we pledged to do everyday to help our minds.. "5 a day for the Mind" - Mine included going to bed before 11 pm every night and turning my computer off by 9 pm. I am already failing at those two. Whoops. The bauble will hang for all to see and it will also be a great addition to my Christmas tree this year.
Had the chance to "network" too and meet some very interesting people.
All in all, a great evening to be part of.
Fantastic crowd all waiting for @Rubywax & @MindCharity & @stonewalluk #wellatwork pic.twitter.com/KxZSGOONtg
— GLEE@PwC UK (@GLEEPwCUK) June 16, 2014