Has Mental Health a place in Business?

McDonalds Bicester

Mental health awareness has been on the rise this year, supported by the likes of the World Health Organisation with their sponsored day - 10th October 17and Mental Health awareness week, both being in the limelight, not to mention the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry spearheading a new campaign: #HeadsTogether, to end the stigma around mental health.  

I know there will be valid arguments and objections from various corners, however, I truly believe that when you, the Management and Businesses, have a full understanding of how it affects people, you will see things differently. You would also be in a better position to be able to judge, how limitations and skill sets are affected or best utilised within each individual, in order to best place your employees for the good and benefit of your Business.

I was in the Army for some 14 years, where I received the best training in the world, overcame some of the most complicated challenges and faced varying experiences from around the globe, that will enable me deal with any issues which may come way in the future, however, I have PTSD. Now does this then mean that I am; Un-employable, does this mean that I Unable to fulfil a skilled position OR does this even mean that I cannot start and run my own Business?

The correct answer to those questions, should be an emphatic No. Why? Well, I should tell you that I started my own Chauffeur company on leaving the Army and built its reputation, client base and sales, to become a successful business in its own right, until I then negotiated a merger, before selling and it becoming one of the largest Chauffeur companies in Oxfordshire.

Yes I made mistakes, I made it hard for people to relate or understand me and/or my actions at times, after all I was not your typical businessman, I acted differently and did not follow the normal rules of carrying out business. This was not done purposely and at the time I was unaware of the impact of my actions, I honestly thought I was doing nothing wrong. Those who were more patient and understanding, began to see me for the person I was, beneath the confusion which is PTSD, and remain work associates, colleagues, dare I even say Friends in some cases.

They learnt how to interact with me, I explained where my skills were and where my understanding of various things lay, outside of that, they took the time to explain things more carefully or in a different way. The point is that we found a way to make it work and just as you need to do with anyone new you meet in social circles and business, you watch, you listen, you learn and you build rapport with an individual, enabling you to conduct business with them.

Has Mental Health A Place In Business? Of course it does, we all struggle with Stress at times, mild Depression or worse. This does not then mean we are damaged goods, that we have Mental Health issues and so therefore, no longer have the same skills or experiences that we had prior to finding this out. It means you have an "Unseen Injury", it means you require support, understanding and training in how best to handle the situation and what your limitations might then be, if there are any.

In the Army, we train together, eat together, work together and live together, we also make mistakes together and support each other. We are all human, mistakes and "Life", happens to us all at some point, the Army has not survived hundreds of years, by not investing in its personnel through training and support.

Identify your employees specific skills, utilise them efficiently by providing understanding, training and support, they will then remain loyal to you and do battle for you, how much is that worth to your Business?

Should you wish to know more about Mental Health and how it impacts on your Business, then email me - inspireme@wilsonslife.co.uk