It’s Time We Talk about Mental UNwellness
There is lots of talk about mental wellness these days, to the point that I am sick and tired of it, even though that is my personal and professional mission. Should I not be glad that the world’s wave is pushing this trend, for would it not mean more business opportunities for me?
Yes. But something is missing in these narratives.

“How to be well” and “how to look after yourself” and “build emotional resilience” are all well and truly helpful on the days when one is thriving, and even just about surviving. They are proactive approaches and like people say, prevention is better than cure. However, they serve no purpose when one’s mind is withering and dying a slow and tortuous death but do not end up quite dead, which may actually be preferable for then that would be an absolute certainty instead of being in suspended animation in limbo land – the waiting place, as Dr Seuss put it so poetically.
When someone is in despair, has excessive worries, senses of powerlessness, hearing voices and seeing illusions and all of that, telling them to learn to be resilient helps with nothing. It is similar to telling someone who is in bed with the flu to exercise more and stay healthy so they won’t catch another cold, when what they need in that moment are some hot lemon drinks, maybe medication, sleep, and some tender, loving care.

In the same way, employees aren’t always well, they are not always having a great day, aren’t always feeling energetic or productive. In fact, sometimes they just feel like crap, but pretend to be fine because they think they have to keep the image of strength, or perhaps the organization does not allow that space for distressed people so they keep their heads down and quite.

This is the backlash of overly-emphasizing the “well” side of mental health.
It is time to talk about mental UNwellness - especially in the workplace.
Employees need to know what is is like when their “crappy day” is them feeling mentally unwell. They need to know when their excessive worries are causing them to be dysfunction, or that their lethargy is rendering them ineffective in making decisions or forgetting tasks, so they know when – and how – to tell someone, to seek professional help, and to use the generally under-utilized Employee Assistance Programs that companies have subscribed to. It is time to call depression, depression, and not hide behind, "How to cope with stress". It is also time to talk about the symptoms and what it feels like, and not hide behind, "How to be Positive."

The mental health dialogue is not complete without the other side. It may be difficult to talk about the UNwellness side of things, but make it a prerequisite in the office. Get your senior leadership on board, have them equipped to carry out this conversation, and engage with your staff population. Use stories of those who have lived the depression, the anxiety, the psychosis, and host them in sharing and training sessions for your employees. They are the ones who know, who really know what those states of minds are really like. And right now, your team needs that kind of emotional support and understanding to weather through the world’s challenging context.
Life is not always well; it is only human to be unwell sometimes.
The key is knowing when we become unwell, and what to do then.

Talking mental UNwellness is part of building mentally healthy organizations and resilient teams, the real and wholistic way.

Yours truly,
White Paper on Workplace Mental Health in Asia
The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation and Mental Health Commission of Canada jointly initiated a White Paper on Workplace Mental Health and Safety, providing a framework on how workplaces can take action and support the mental health and wellness of employees, and highlighting best practices and model programmes from across the APEC region. Bearapy is honoured to have been part of making this White Paper come into fruition.
Download and read here.
Lived Experiences Play A Part
We believe that lived experiences need to play a part in the global mental health dialogue and are comprised of representatives from all over the world who advocate for the same vision. We want to build a mentally healthy world together, encompassing different approaches, thoughts, and ideas.

Our latest newsletter has just been published – see what is happening in the world in the mental health space across all the continents!
Free Ebook in HEBREW!
We are so touched to see that our work is being amplified by other kindred sprits. “Pull Yourself Together: Bridging the Communication Gap between the Depressed and those who Love Them” was written in 2013, and might have slightly outdated hyperlinks. But somewhere in the world, someone thought it was resourceful enough and wanted to make it available in another language. 

So, it is now available in English, Simplified and Traditional Chinese, AND HEBREW!
Thank you to Danielle Honigstein for the support, the initiative, the persistence, and the hard work to gift us with this version of the book! 

Helping people, one at a time... 
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