This World Mental Health Day we want to talk about some of the barriers that people feel they face in accessing support and suggest some solutions for these. We want to talk about how to go about getting help and how to start having those conversations with employers, colleagues, friends and family.
I am not sure what kind of support I need
Everyone keeps saying ‘just reach out for support’ if you need it but what does that look like? How do you go about that? What support should you be asking for? There may be different areas of your life that you could benefit from having support with but you don’t know where to begin and it can be overwhelming. You might also find yourself being shifted between services and it becomes a significant burden, not just on your mental health but also your time.
At ABS, our welfare team will guide the conversation and take the time to listen to your individual needs. Our range of support services and welfare partnerships enables us to look holistically at your current challenges – in our experience, when one challenge presents itself, it can often trigger other ones meaning that you might need a mix of different types of support. We can get you the right help quickly, reducing anxiety and stress, so that you can focus on the important things.
If we can’t support you directly, we have access to a number of resources and can signpost you in the right direction.
You can contact us by phone, by email or fill out an enquiry form online. We are here for you and can help you get the support you need.
I don’t feel worthy of support
It can be difficult to know when the right time is to reach out for support; perhaps you feel that other people’s problems are worse than yours or you don’t feel worthy of help. Perfectionism is a common theme within the architectural community which can lead to stress, or dealing with your own high expectations.
I feel ashamed to ask for support
It is easy to slip into the trap of thinking “other people seem to cope with this, why can’t I?” and see seeking help as somehow a sign of failure.
This is not the case. Everyone struggles sometimes and pressure can build up until it all feels overwhelming. Asking for help is not a weakness, but a strength.
ABS is only ever a phone call or email away. We offer non-judgmental support whether that is sharing self-management techniques, referring you for therapy, a grant to get you through the month if you are struggling financially, or simply a sympathetic ear to listen to your experience.
Don’t wait for it to get too much. Call our welfare team. We all need support sometimes.
I am worried about managing my work
Knowing what to say and how to say it can build much needed confidence in how to approach having a conversation with your employer. You never need to disclose a mental health condition with your employer but if you choose to, there is more of an opportunity for support at an earlier stage.
When taking the steps to talk to your employer about your mental health difficulty it’s good to consider who you would feel most comfortable talking to. You may feel you can go to your line manager or if your organisation has mental health first aiders, they might be a good place to start. It may also be useful to talk to your GP first who can provide a letter of support if required. We would recommend seeing your GP anyway, as they may be able to offer alternative forms of support.
Remember, you can explain as much or as little detail as you want – you do not have to disclose anything you don’t want to.
You could frame your conversation around the following:
- How your mental health difficulty is impacting your job – this can just be an overview of what you are experiencing
- How you think the organisation could support you – Mind has created this helpful list of adjustment suggestions you could ask for:
- changes to your working area
- changes to your working hours
- spending time working from home
- being allowed to take time off work for treatment, assessment or rehabilitation
- temporarily re-allocating tasks you find stressful and difficult
- getting some mentoring.