World Mental Health Day offers an opportunity for organisations to share their initiatives to promote mental wellbeing and advocate for accessible mental health support.
At CEL Solicitors, we use this day as an opportunity to hold a space where staff can have courageous conversations about their struggles.
Our mental health first aider, Kourtney Blaize, hosted the firm’s Mental Health Snaps for the third year running. This activity consists of small groups of our staff writing down something that affects their mental health on a sticky note. These notes, or ‘snaps’ are then mixed up in our ‘snap hat’ and staff will take turns in reading them out, allowing them to share how they may relate to the issue and how they would tackle it. The discussion is then opened to the floor for further contribution from the rest of the group.
The aim of our mental health snaps is to help our staff recognise how healing it is to talk about your struggles and that we may all face similar problems and issues in our day to day lives.
After hosting the mental health snaps for a few years now, it has been a turning point for me in my own journey. It gave me great comfort to know that so many other people struggled with the same things that I was dealing with, such as anxiety and overthinking. It made me feel ‘normal’, as for the longest time I always thought it was just me struggling with these issues and that something was wrong with me. I would always compare myself to others and critique myself which would result in feelings of guilt and shame.
However, discussing my issues in a group setting has given me a sense of normality, and has made me feel very comfortable in myself and my feelings.
Opening up is often uncomfortable and scary but with the activity being anonymous, it allows us to openly discuss our personal struggles together in a safe space. Talking through your issues and realising that you aren’t the only one going through them can be extremely comforting. Hearing different perspectives on how to tackle a problem better equips us to deal with them.
It’s massively important to create safe spaces to have these types of discussions. Sharing your experience with someone else can have a huge impact on their well-being and even your own. It can provide great comfort, a sense of normality and resilience.
Everyone has their own definition of what is ‘normal’ and it’s completely normal to go through challenges and have bad days sometimes. We all do and that’s what makes us human!
Our staff found sharing their personal struggles with each other to be an affirming and therapeutic activity. Read some of their takeaways:
Dominic, First Response Advisor – ‘I thought it was really insightful to hear that other people are going through the same kind of thing that is going on in our own heads. So being able to sit down and discuss this and help each other deal with the struggles of mental health literally just felt like the room was full of positivity, which created a safe space to share our own experiences in.’
Gerard, Crypto Fraud Investigator – ‘I found it to be a really positive experience. It was nice to feel so understood and heard which is not something I’m used to having in a workplace when it comes to mental health. It’s something I would definitely attend again.’
Paul, First Response Advisor – ‘I found it very therapeutic and inspirational to speak amongst a group in which we all have similar issues we have faced in our lives.’
Matthew, Fraud Paralegal – ‘It was a very useful session where everyone was open and supportive of each other’s snaps. It was pleasantly surprising to hear that everyone else experiences the same issues, and it was insightful hearing the suggestions people had to offer in terms of dealing with them.’
Honey, Fraud Paralegal – ‘I loved the mental health snaps – it was so assuring and calming knowing other people have the same issues and hearing how they cope with them is quite inspiring.’
Beverly, First Response Advisor – ‘I was hesitant at first but really glad I attended because now I know I’m not the only having the same struggles and insecurities.’
Sam, Junior Developer – ‘The session was great and definitely felt like a huge relief to talk to others experiencing similar feelings and knowing you’re not alone. I think for a lot of people, just seeing others are in the same boat is quite comforting – but also giving advice can be just as therapeutic as receiving it. I felt really comfortable to talk about my own experiences and feelings – in such a safe space with no judgement.’