I was honored to be asked to speak at the Telford Business Partnership quarterly breakfast about mental health in work, and employee wellbeing.
It's not often that I get the opportunity to tell a room full of business leaders that they're the reason their employees are struggling... OK so while I most certainly did say this - there was also a lot more that went into the 40 minute talk!
While there were a few hiccups - i.e., not being able to see any of the notes I had on the slides... I was able to keep the audience captivated, for the full 40 minutes - and this isn't just my ego taking over one lovely lady came up to me afterwards and said: "Your talk was fantastic - I didn't even make one doodle on my page, I literally listened to every word", Awesome I thought - well until another lady said she had to stop listening half way through because it was bringing back memories and she thought she was going to burst into tears...
I have to admit the end did get very emotional. Jan Minihane the Chair of TBP, stood up and said she had struggled with depression, hell I told everyone about my horrific time in retail which almost led me to committing suicide...
I couldn't help myself but leave a parting comment - 'If you haven't struggled with stress, depression or anxiety yet don't worry because you will, we all do'. While this seems like a quite harsh throw away comment - it's actually grounded in science - there is a lot of research which suggests at some point everyone of us will struggle with stress, depression or anxiety - and a vast majority never make it back to mental health without professional help.
Right at the end of the breakfast meeting there was a rush of people (OK so 9 or 10 - but that's still a rush), who were asking for the slides, for me to talk to their teams, their HR directors or just to tell me that they now have so much clarity about the difference between depression, and anxiety - something no one had ever mentioned before - event though they had paid for stress awareness training in the past... If you're ever lucky enough to hear me talk about stress you will know this is something which really sets me off - but that's for another day.
Thanks again to Jan, and the TBP team!