Back MENTAL HEALTH AT WORK By Jules Parkinson Thake
After 10 years in the Metropolitan Police I decided to leave, I wanted to find a career where I could thrive and still work “normal” hours, whatever that means. After 18 months working in a recruitment agency and another 18 months for a charity, I realised that “normal” hours didn’t exist, I was working longer hours than I had ever worked in the Police.
As a result, coupled with other things my mental health started to deteriorate, and against my own self-stigma I dragged myself to the GP whom signed me off work for 3 weeks, with work-related stress. I’d always dreamed of running my own business, but the prospect had always felt too risky and I didn’t have the confidence to take the risk.
After leaving what I thought was my forever career, the police, and leaving two jobs in quite close succession, that fear had dissipated. I was 6 weeks into another new job when I realised I couldn’t do it anymore and needed to take back control.
From early 2017, I had formed an idea with my best friend to start a business together, we both loved training and we were both passionate about diverse and inclusive workplaces, so our initial idea was a training and consultancy company specialising in diversity and inclusion.
By mid-2018, the focus had moved a little, I realised during my sick leave that my manager’s who were well intentioned did not know how to support me, and I did not know what I needed. We realised that employee’s, line managers and employers, even when well intentioned, did not how to approach or deal with mental health, mental ill health in the workplace and that we could play a part in changing this.
We became Mental Health First Aid England Instructors and deliver training in-house as well as running our own open courses. We love creating our own material too and have developed our own workshops on mental health, stress, conscious inclusion and we continue to do more.
My own mental health has been a lot healthier since taking the leap into business owner, that is not to say I don’t still have my bad days or weeks, Afterall mental health is not binary and exists on a continuum.
We are thrilled to be running a mental health awareness session at the Women in Business Expo, to show how The Inclusion Initiative can support people and businesses. You can meet us at the Pepdays Wellbeing Feature at 2.20pm on Wednesday 16th October to hear more. Register for your free ticket here