As you may know, mental health is getting the spotlight in the media more and more. Celebrities are publicly talking about their struggles with mental health issues and are checking themselves into inpatient mental health hospitals for a concentrated treatment plan. Even royal families are getting involved in this movement to bring more awareness about the importance of managing our mental health.
Yet, we are still hearing and reading news of celebrity deaths by suicide. We’ve learned that suicide is the 10th leading cause of death today. That 90% of people who die by suicide experienced a mental health condition. And workplace wellness initiatives still emphasize physical health, and at times don’t address mental health at all.
There are many ways we define leadership.
And I think it’s time our personal definitions included being unashamed about saying, “I’m not perfect.” “I need help.” “I struggle with…” while knowing and being assured that it doesn’t make you “less than” in any way, shape, or form. Not only knowing that you are “enough” in your imperfection, but being able to thrive in a culture where vulnerability, coupled with courage is not ostracized, but rather a norm where people easily and readily can say, “yes, I struggle with anxiety too, I get it, and I see you.”
Suicide is preventable. Mental health concerns are treatable and manageable. Healthcare access is more accessible when there is no stigma associated with both the terminology, as well as the act of seeking help for better management. For example, being able to ask for recommendations via a public Facebook post for a good therapist without being shunned for it.
But we need to talk about it.
We cannot heal what we sweep under the rug.
Having honest conversations that encourage seeking support, that don’t minimize or invalidate experiences, and that show a struggling person that they are cared for, and that they matter, helps save lives.
Investors are starting to realize that Startup Founders are struggling with mental health issues and addictions. They are hearing how the Startup lifestyle is literally killing their best talent and the creative genius that “could have been”. And they are taking pledges to offset that. It’s a great start! Large corporations have EAP, which is fantastic benefit to offer employees, but leaders themselves aren’t buying in. And due to toxic work environments that don’t truly hold space for wellness or wellbeing, neither are the employees.
And what about mid-sized business owners? Small business owners? Freelancers and solopreneurs? The majority of small businesses are in fact very small. These very business owners don’t interest venture capitalists. So many bootstrap their way to making a living. Their identity is far too wrapped up in their ability to produce, and all too often for as little money as possible, leaving many earning less that 50k a year. How great would it be for small business owners to really support one another in our work environments of one to a few – by taking “mental health” days. Or vacations where we actually turn off our mobile devices and unplug? Or 60 minutes a month to play?
We talk about hustle culture, and doing whatever it takes…
What if “whatever it takes” is really about rest, restoration, and deeper connection?
What if whatever it takes is about having the courage to document standards for our businesses, so we can actually love what we do and work with people we love to work with? What if it’s about honoring those standards, even when others have no concept of boundaries and ethical standards, or walking with purpose? What about building a culture of health and wellness? A culture based on love rather than fear of missing out?
Can we start talking about how we had a great peer support group meeting the other day? Or how we worked through our anxiety with the five senses technique and didn’t have a panic attack on the way to a networking event? Or how thanks to taking Mental Health First Aid we were able to see the signs of mental health distress in a family member and encouraged them to text the mental health crisis text line and get help until they could get in to see a psychiatrist?
I’m very proud and happy to announce that Love Yourself Love Your Business has officially incorporated as a nonprofit organization.
We are establishing ourselves as a leading peer-led nonprofit that creates intentional spaces of support for small business owners and entrepreneurs who often deal with depression, anxious thoughts, loneliness, addictions, and work-related stress leading to burn out.
For the month of May, we are encouraging business leaders – from one-person shops to large Fortune 100s – to be bold and courageous about speaking up about mental health.
We are asking you to take the lead about creating a stigma-free culture where mental health and wellbeing is a priority and not an afterthought.
We’re asking you to create space for open dialogue around mental health because not only is it an exercise in healing for yourself, but it is the bat signal to all who look to us for guidance and direction – those who want to be the heroes of their health and life stories too.
Share your narrative.
Share your story of healing, hope, struggle, overcoming, constant battling, failures, successes, what you’re doing to manage your mental health and wellbeing, how you’re implementing mental health in your workplace wellness program.
We’ve even created a starter kit for you here.
Join us during Mental Health month, (starting May 1st) and be sure to use the hashtag #EntrepreneursTalkAboutIt let’s make this a conversation that continues, and grows into real change.
Until Next Time…Peace!
Oh! By the way, if you want to learn more about the blogger of this post feel free to check out my about page.