Every year, my company organizes a winter awareness webinar for all their staff.
It is an hour-long session about the hidden dangers during the winter months. Simple things like wearing appropriate clothing and footwear, to ensuring your car is roadworthy and can cope with icy and snowy conditions.
The general advice is, plan your journey and ensure you can get to work, and back home safely.
“If it’s not safe to do so, work from home and let your team know“. It is at this point where there is a story of an employee being stuck in bad snowy weather and having to spend the night in their car without food or a blanket.
Lesson learned the hard way.
Facts About Suicide
Half an hour into the webinar, it was just general reminders that I wasn’t paying much attention to. The next few slides came as a big shock. According to the World Health Organisation, 800,000 people commit suicide every year. I am not talking about 800 or 8,000 people. I am not evening talking about 80,000 people a year. The number is 800,000 human souls which is close to a million people taking their own lives every year.
The Wembley Stadium has a capacity of about 90,000. Imagine almost ten times that many people taking their lives every single year. That’s about 67,000 people a month, 15,500 a week and 2,200 a day. Scary stuff.
I still find these numbers unbelievable. There is no way we would ordinarily accept these number of deaths without action but seems when it came comes to mental health, we don’t really know how to handle it.
Talk To Someone
Life is not easy and was never meant to be. Being a dad and a responsible one at that brings along its own challenges.
We all struggle with work, finances, human relationships and life in general. I used to think my kids were hard work until I saw how other kids behaved. My kids are angels in comparison.
The key lesson from the webinar was to talk to someone. It’s amazing how freeing it can be to share what’s on your mind with another person. Imagine being in £2,000 debt and letting that ruin your workday and home life. Someone in a £10,000 debt is all happy and has an upbeat life and you might even think they have thousands of pounds in savings. Discussing things over lunch can be a great stress reliever.
We all face challenges in life, it’s all about your attitude towards them. You might be in debt but have a warm bed to sleep in. There is someone sleeping on the streets in the winter months and they would love to swap places with you.
Ask for Help
One of the biggest challenges is, people want to be private about their problems. There are many online communities that allow you to share in great details about almost anything. I personally use Reddit and there are many subreddits that allow you to connect with people in similar situations to you.
I am not saying join the crowd and bath in your troubles but know that you are not alone and these communities provide a safe space to talk freely without being judged and you can do all this anonymously. If online communities are not your thing, seek help from a qualified professional.
One of my favourite TedTalks on this subject is by Guy Winch talking about practising emotional first aid which I highly recommend you watch. You cannot take care of love ones if you are not well yourself. Give yourself the best present there is for your mental health; talk to someone you can confide in and unburden yourself from the mental stress.
The life you have is a gift, make the most of it.