It is important to talk about mental health issues we have regardless of whether in the workplace or society. Too often we ignore the little signs in ourselves and others that something is not quite right mentally. We ignore these signs and feelings of been anxious or depressed and instead shrugging it off thinking it is a phase or worse still pretending they don’t exist.
It can even harder those are not working to deal with mental health issues. Social enterprise organisations like “Vanguard Laundry Services” who provide opportunities to those who are unemployed helps people get their lives back on track and ‘improve their mental health’. This is important work being done and more social enterprise organisations should be encouraged. We know that there is huge economic cost to society when it comes to mental health as noted by “The Productivity Commission’s draft report into mental health which puts the economic cost of mental illness at $180 billion dollars a year – notes “particularly strong links between employment and mental health” and the importance of job opportunities.” (http://theconversation.com/this-laundry-is-changing-the-vicious-cycle-of-unemployment-and-mental-illness-117965)
Whilst we tend to look at things from an economic point of view too often we need to look beyond this to solve issues especially when it comes to mental health. I know from a personal perspective dealing with my mental health issues being and my gender dysphoria as a transgender woman the impacts any form of mental illness can have on you even if you are working as well. I have found it difficult sometimes navigating my way in society through the maze of being transgender but also the maze of different service providers when it comes to mental health providers. Finding a counsellor, psychiatrist or psychologist that understands gender identity and transgender issues can be challenging and finding the right one even more so. This is an exercise in itself which is time consuming as well as one that leaves you sometimes a little skeptical of some in this industry who just want to empty your pocket rather than really helping you.
I have also dealt with anxiety and depression as well as panic attacks on my journey of transition from male to female. This is something I never thought I would encounter or even have to deal with when I started living full time as a woman and even prior whilst going the process of getting approval for hormones. It is quite scary having a panic attack when you have not had one before as hits you without warning. I only write about this and share this as many transgender people have these as do other people and is not talked about much at all. You are in a state of panic and feel as though you can’t breathe and for a moment forget where you are. It is something I wish that no one has to go through as can be quite debilitating though with the right advice and support you learn to deal with it so you know how to deal with it should it happen again in the future.
I hope that by raising these issues that it will start to trigger a conversation around this and that people will take mental health more seriously and recognise that is something that we cannot ignore. The sooner we recognise it the sooner we can start to talk about it openly and begin to deal with it.
If anyone needs support call Lifeline on phone: 13 11 14 or Beyondblue on phone: 1300 22 4636.