I share my personal story to groups of employees in small ‘intimate’ sessions that last no longer than an hour. Maximum numbers are 25 attendees and they are given twenty minutes to ask questions at the end of the session. Ideally, the room has comfortable chairs with no tables to create a relaxed informal environment. Experience tells us that employees should be given the option to attend as opposed to it being compulsory and are not expected to make the time up. We advise that the session is promoted as an opportunity to ‘Improve your understanding of mental health’. This attempts to avoid the perception that all attendees have or had a mental health issue.
“Your session has inspired me more than you can ever imagine, I am going to seek professional help for the first time ever in my life”
Talk at Conferences
I am happy to share my personal story of over thirty years of ‘suffering in silence’ with much larger numbers at conferences. The content is adapted dependent upon the audience but I remind organisers that mental health issues can impact everybody regardless of seniority or status within a business. At a conference I need a minimum of thirty minutes and a maximum of forty five to deliver my message.
“I know that your goal was to truly connect with just a few people today but I’m positive that you have touched many many more”
Some employers have asked me to work on an individual basis with employees they know or suspect maybe suffering with a mental health issue. This work is carried out in extreme confidence but with the total consent of the employee. The majority of the meetings are offsite but the choice of the location is always the decision of the employee. Employees value hearing a story they can relate to with someone who enjoyed a successful career despite living with a mental health issue.
“Thank you for sharing your personal story with me, your success despite your challenges with anxiety have made me think about things differently”