June 8, 2022

The Mental Health Topic – Practical Implications


Episode Highlights

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Camille and Kelly continue the conversation about supporting mental health in the workplace, specifically touching on how to talk about it yourself:

-when you may want to check in with someone and how to do it

-how you can talk about your own mental health

-keeping simple check-ins as a regular touch point in routine meetings

-other ideas for advocating mental health in remote workplaces

Let us know what other topics we can cover to give more insight into wellness and mental health!

Episode Transcript

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Hey Kelly, thanks for joining me today. Of course. Thanks for having me. Yeah, I’m so happy we can collab on all our mental health stuff. In our blog that we did, was it like two months ago? That’s kind of crazy thinking it was that long ago, but I think it was. That’s crazy.

Well, I think that was a really good one because I had even seen when you and Jeff and Robyn did your talk. I know Jeff mentioned a few things. I don’t know if it was from that blog or just things that he had learned about, but that was really cool just because I feel like the most important thing is the managers kind of showing like healthy practices or modeling healthy behavior.

So I thought that was really cool that he mentioned things that employers can do to support mental health. And especially with summer, I love the mental health days, unlimited PTO, all those things I think were really great. Yeah, I think it was helpful to kind of speak on everything that you and I wrote about.

And one other thing that I wanted to bring in here is like how you and I are so interested and passionate about the wellness space and particularly mental health. And I know you and I both have had degrees in sort of the wellness and psychology space. And I was a behavior coach for a while, so I never did anything clinical.

But I’ve always been really passionate about this stuff. And I want to share what I’ve learned with others, and I’m always looking to learn a little bit more. So it’s been exciting to talk with you about everything. Yeah. Yeah. I love my psychology degree, even though I don’t practice or do anything with it.

I think it’s really great even to work on yourself and be that listening board for others and be there and just kind of be conscious of mental illness and signs and symptoms, I think is really helpful. And just the more you know, the more helpful you can be for yourself and loved ones. So I think that’s another important thing is in the workplace,

especially working remote. We don’t see people every day. So sometimes maybe we’ll have to put in a little more effort just to check on everyone and just to see how they’re doing because you never really know what’s going on in someone else’s life just because you’re not seeing them every day. So something that we can do is just really take that extra step

and make that more effort and just reach out to others. Check in, see how they’re doing. Maybe if you haven’t heard from them, maybe if they hadn’t shown up to meetings or maybe they haven’t been turning on their camera lately, just check in and see how they’re doing. And you don’t have to be a professional therapist.

You can just check in and listen to them and just be there for them and even provide resources too. Yeah, absolutely. And I think that’s an important part that you mentioned that you don’t have to be a therapist, but if I could add to that, you shouldn’t be a therapist if you’re not. You know, don’t tell them how to restructure their life and uproot everything, because this is going to solve all your problems.

But instead, just be someone that they can have a safe space with and just express themselves openly and be a listener if they want a listener. You know, even commenting “gosh, that sounds really hard.” Sometimes just hearing that and having a little bit of sympathy from somebody else is a little bit of relief, but also offering some tips about “have you considered talking to somebody else about it?”

And just be delicate around the whole topic, but your main focus should just be a supporter. You’re not there to solve their problems. Yeah, definitely. And I think for the most part, when people are reaching out, they don’t want anyone to solve their problems, you know? They just want someone to hear them and listen to them and just be there for them.

So that’s something that your everyday person can be. You don’t need to be a therapist, you just have to be there for them. And I love that Hirewell, everyone talks about mental health every, all the time, and we’re able to talk with our managers about it. And it’s just really great because you can just be yourself and if something’s going on, you can just say, “Hey, like I’m having a bad day and can we maybe move this meeting?”

Or you can throw in things like that and obviously you don’t have to do that all the time but you’re open to share and you won’t be judged or looked at differently or anything like that. You can just be yourself. Yeah. That’s something that I absolutely experienced here. I just feel like just being able to completely be myself and be open about my interests and where I’m struggling, just helps me get the right sort of support from whoever it is, whether it’s a peer or a mentor, a manager. Whether I’ve been distracted by my personal life lately or I’m just having difficulty focusing in the first place,

being able to speak openly about it, I think just gets you that much closer to being able to overcome it or manage it. And it’s just so important to feel like you can be open like that in a workspace. Yeah. And I think another important thing, like an action item for anyone who watches this could be, before you start a meeting and jumping right into it, ask how everyone is doing.

Even if it only takes a few minutes, like those are some few minutes you can give and kind of step away from whatever is on the agenda for that day. And just ask how everyone’s doing, ask about their weekend. Just some simple questions, just because it is a lot to jump from meeting to meeting if you have back-to-back meetings. It’s just nice to take a second and say, how are you?

Maybe go get some water, run to the restroom. Just remember to take care of yourself in a busy schedule that we all have and ask how others are doing and just be mindful that other people have other things going on in their lives, other than whatever you’re meeting for that day for that meeting. And maybe even to add to that as a teammate to say to somebody, if they respond saying that they’re struggling with something on any level, is it your place to say, what can I do to help?

Or you can put it in their corner and say, what do you need? And then that gets them kind of brainstorming about maybe what they can do or maybe they haven’t realized they do need to ask for help. And then you can kind of guide them from there, whether that’s something you can help with or you know somebody else who can.

Yeah. Yeah, definitely. And one thing I saw, we were talking in our Be Well group last week and just working remotely, sometimes they’re not able to make those connections and that can make you feel alone or kind of isolated at home. And one of our members of our Be Well group, said that she has like a recurring weekly like 30 minute kind of lunch chat with some team members, which I think was really awesome

because you don’t have to do any extra work to reach out to people. You have that on your calendar, ready to go and connect and you can just kind of vent or just kind of unload everything that’s been going on. So I think that’s also really awesome. Just having someone to talk to, maybe someone who’s not going, maybe if it’s with a friend or a partner,

anything in your life. Just having a separate set of ears that wasn’t in the situation just to listen and you don’t have to give any advice or anything like that. You can just be there for them and listen. Yeah. I love that part. Yeah. I think I’ll have to start doing that just because it’s so- I feel like once you get in the week and everyone gets busy and their calendars all filled up, I think I’ll have to have like recurring meetings just to catch up, which I think is really nice.

Yeah. And I’ve also reached out to people who have sent an email or I’ve seen something posted on LinkedIn and I’m just thinking of them in any sense, uh, I let them know. I say, “oh, I was just thinking about you” or “I just saw that you posted this” and that’s kind of an easy way to check in too. And I know

we’re all busy. We’re always busy, but you know, put yourself out there. Say, do you want to have a coffee catch-up? And if they’re busy, then leave it in their corner and let them come back to you. Or put something on the calendar maybe for a Friday and that’s something to look forward to for the end of the week.

Yeah, I think that’s great advice. I think we really just do have to put ourselves out there working remotely because you can’t walk over to somebody’s desk or maybe meet in the lunch room. But I think putting yourself out there is fine. And I know we had talked about maybe when reaching out to someone, making sure that they have time to talk. Like maybe if they’re overwhelmed and maybe you’re kind of unloading or venting to them and they’re like, “oh, I really can’t talk right now”

that might not be a great experience, you know? So maybe after reaching out, before sharing anything maybe, just make sure that they have time to talk and that it’s a good time for them. So maybe some questions like that, just saying, “is this okay if I share with you” or “should we talk another time” or “are you busy?”

Just things like that. Just questions to make sure that it’s a good time to talk so it’s a positive experience for both sides and makes it feel like both of you are listening and hearing each other. Yeah, that’s really important. And I mean, with that, if you’re the person who needs to talk, how do you know who to go to or when it’s time to speak to somebody, even when it’s time to speak to your manager?

Yeah. That’s the hardest part is because from working remotely, you don’t know like who to reach out to, you know? I know I could always- I know who I can reach out to because of like putting myself out there that I really care and I’m passionate about mental health. But if I didn’t do that, I wouldn’t really be sure.

So that’s still something that I’ve yet to figure out is like, other than the people I talk to mainly, who else can I reach out to? And who’s willing to talk? But I feel like there’s nothing really you can do other than just put yourself out there and ask if they have time to talk, you know? And it’ll just kind of go from there.

So I feel like we just got to put ourselves out there and just make sure you’re asking the question to see if that’s something they would be okay with before, like venting and sharing with them. Absolutely. Awesome. Well, thanks for joining me today, Kelly. I love our conversations about mental health and I love that we’re kind of breaking the stigma and it’s just so well shared here at Hirewell.

I love it. Me too. It’s always a joy joining you and thanks again for meeting up with me and I look forward to future conversations. Yeah. Yeah. If you guys have any topics or anything about mental health that you would like to see from our Hirewell content or anything like that, let us know in the comments or send us a message on LinkedIn.

Have a great day, everybody. Bye.

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