As this day rolls around each year a huge amount of emphasis is made about mental health on this one day and I often ponder how effective it is.
Don’t get me wrong I think this day is a brilliant initiative to shine a much needed light on the significant mental health challenges that people face, and particularly in these trying times. But more often than not it needs more than one day for someone who is not ‘ok’ to tell you that. In fact, I would argue that on this day in particular a lot of people might tell you they are OK, when they are not, sensing the question was asked out of tokenism.
For me, one of the simplest ways we can all help to check that our friends and loved ones are OK is through connection, and not just on this particular day. You need to have been putting in the ‘hard yards’ in a friendship to allow the cracks to show through in a conversation, where you might find that your friend, colleague or family member is not really ok.
So this year the Peoplecorp Team have committed to making an effort to be consistent with their own connections for the whole year. We have all pledged to pick 5 friends whom we will call this week to mobilise communication. Then we will make a conscious effort to call, or hopefully reconnect in person (lockdown and location permitting), at least once a quarter. This might be to ring them for their birthdays (rather than the easy text), calling them at Christmas (rather than putting up facebook general Christmas wishes) or just walking and talking as we do our daily exercise.
We believe that if we all make the effort to put aside time in our daily lives to properly connect with our friends we may be able to identify the niggles and talk them through before it becomes a burden. Plus it is also great for your own mental health!
I look forward to looping back in next year to let you know how we went.