Asking For Help

The mental health of corporate Australia shows almost one third of people are suffering from some form of mental illness.

Of those, 36% were suffering from depression, 33% from anxiety and 31% from stress.

A decade ago only one in five Australians were found to be suffering from a mental illness. It’s time to turn things around.

Hi this is Grant Herbert, international speaker and sustainable performance coach, and today I want to continue our conversation around stress by helping you get to a point where you feel more empowered to ask for the help you need.

I’ve had a couple of weeks where I have had to take my own medicine as a lot of travel and being unwell had really taken it’s toll. That’s why I missed our conversation last week and am coming to you a week later. I am currently in the beautiful city of New Delhi in India where I am about to run a 3 day leadership intensive with the top 100 leaders of a very large corporate.

So let’s have a chat about asking for help.

Mental illness appears to have increased by a third in the last decade. Depression is now the primary mental health disorder.

This is the first time depression has exceeded anxiety which has traditionally been twice as common as depression. Australia’s last official figures list anxiety at 14.4% and depression at 6.2%. The program, using data from 3,500 employees across 41 organisations from a range of industries, was conducted by the mental health technology group Medibio.

Now studies and statistics are one thing. We can dismiss them because of sample size or many other rationalisations we choose to use to avoid the issue. However I have the privilege of working with thousands of individuals and teams in these organisations every year and I can attest first hand that this is definitely a true reflection of what is going on right now.

People are hurting and therefore so are their families and the bottom line of the companies they work in.

A couple of weeks ago we celebrated RUOK day. A special day set aside each year where we are encouraged to ask our fellow humans how things are, and hope they respond in a way that we feel empowered to deal with.

Well my question is, what do we do on the other 364 days?

We take responsibility for our own well-being and ask others for help.

Now I know why a lot of you do not feel comfortable to do this. You feel that asking for help means you failed or you aren’t good enough. That’s what held me back before my burnout forced me to ask.

But I don’t want that for you so as we round off this series on Stress, let me encourage you with 7 key strategies that will help you escape the statistics and enjoy a more healthy and happy life.

It’s time for you to grow your support network.

1. Cast a wide net.  

When it comes to your social support, one size doesn't fit all. You may not have someone you can confide in about everything  — and that’s okay. Maybe you have a colleague you can talk to about problems at work, and a neighbour who lends an ear when you have difficulties with your kids. Look to different relationships for different kinds of support. But remember to look to people you can trust and count on, to avoid disappointing, negative interactions that can make you feel worse.

2. Be proactive.  

Often people expect others to reach out to them, and then feel rejected when people don’t go out of their way to do so. To get the most out of your social relationships, you have to make an effort. Make time for friends and family. Reach out to lend a hand or just say hello. If you’re there for others, they’ll be more likely to be there for you. And in fact, when it comes to longevity, research suggests that providing social support to friends and family may be even more important than receiving it.

3. Take advantage of technology.  

It’s nice to sit down with a friend face-to-face, but it isn't always possible. Luckily, technology makes it easier than ever before to stay connected with loved ones far away. Write an email, send a text message or make a date for a video chat. Don’t rely too heavily on digital connections, however. Face-to-face interactions are definitely the most beneficial.

4. Follow your interests.   

Do you like to hike, sing, make stuff, play sport, get involved in local events? You’re more likely to connect with people who like the things you like. Join a club, sign up for a class or take on a volunteer position that will allow you to meet others who share your interests. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t make friends overnight. Try to enjoy the experience as you get to know others over time.

5. Seek out peer support.   

If you’re dealing with a specific stressful situation  —  such as caring for a family member or dealing with a chronic illness  —  you may not find the support you need from your current network. Consider joining a support group to meet others who are dealing with similar challenges.

6. Improve your social skills.  

 If you feel awkward in social situations and just don’t know what to say, try asking simple questions about the other person to get the ball rolling. If you’re shy, it can be less intimidating to get to know others over shared activities — such as a bike ride or a cooking class — rather than just hanging out and talking. If you feel particularly anxious in social situations, consider talking to a professional coach with experience in social anxiety and social-skills training.

7. Ask for help quickly.  

If you lack a strong support network and aren’t sure where to start, there are resources you can turn to. Places of worship, community centres, local libraries, refugee and immigrant groups, neighbourhood health clinics and local branches of national mental health and support organisations may be able to help you identify services, support groups and other programs in your community.

So that’s a wrap on this current conversation series on stress. I hope you have a few take aways that you are committed to implementing in your own life. Thank you for the privilege of being a part of your journey so far and if you haven’t yet grabbed your copy of my free resources on stress reduction then CLICK HERE and get started now. You deserve to live a life with less stress and conflict.

Well that’s it from me this week. Next week we will be back with a conversation around self awareness. See you then. 

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