By Rob Stephenson, a global mental health campaigner and SDI21 keynote speaker
Stop for a second and think of the words “mental health”. Go on, do it now. What images do you have in your head?
Are you thinking of people with their head in their hands? People who are in distress? Family members who are consoling a loved one who is struggling? Someone in bed with depression? Headlines about someone who has taken their own life?
The thing is, I asked you to think about mental health. Not mental ill-health. Not mental illness. Not disorder. Not despair. Yet, this is where our mind goes, and it’s tragic.
Mental health has a brand problem and it’s preventing a lot of us from realising one of the great performance opportunities of our time.
Why is this important?
We all have mental health. It’s one of the most fundamental and beautiful things about being human. We all exist on a mental health continuum.
If we accept this then we can also accept that we can influence our mental health. This is where we can make real gains in happiness and performance.
The majority of us are neither thriving nor have a mental disorder.
The “worried well” who are either languishing or have moderate mental health account for 65% of any given population. But the aforementioned problem means that many of those feel that “mental health’ does not apply to them. If we can smash this stigma then we can start to inspire these employees to proactively manage their mental health but first we need a rebrand.
Rebranding Mental Health
I’ve started talking a lot about “mental form” as something we can track and attempt to influence. Thinking if you’re on “good form” or not can be a bit easier than thinking if you have strong “mental health or not”.
In my session at SDI20, I’ll be delving much deeper into this idea and then look at the factors that drive our form and things we can all tweak in our lifestyles to better form or maintain positive form for longer.
We all have mental health. We all have form. Find out more in my session at SDI21 on the 16th March, 2021
Rob is on a mission to help inspire the creation of happier, healthier and high performing workplaces. He is the CEO of Form, a mental health technology start-up and Founder of InsideOut, a social enterprise.