Each year, millions of people are affected in some way by mental illness. It’s a barrier that, much like a lack of access to food, impacts every other aspect of a person’s life. As Mental Health Awareness Month draws to a close, we recognize that sustaining our mental wellbeing is a lifelong journey made easier with the care and support of those closest to us.

Taking charge of your mental health

We live in a culture that values individualism and hustle. A culture that often prioritizes masking emotions to get the job done. This means that conversations surrounding mental health are stigmatized, shoved to the side, and a source of shame for many people who live with a condition. It can feel like trying to pull yourself out of quicksand; the more you struggle, the quicker you sink. 

That’s why, as mental health educator Natasha Pierre notes in our Stick a Fork in It podcast, the first step to honoring your mental health is being honest with yourself. If something feels wrong, identify why that is. Acknowledge your feelings and worries. Opening yourself up to vulnerability is undeniably tough, but it allows you to then figure out what you need to move forward. Moreover, you’ll be more equipped to handle the next challenge thrown your way. 

A support system is also key. Whether it be friends, family, a therapist, or even online support groups, having someone who can listen and provide guidance can make a world of difference. Although it may feel overwhelming to talk things out, they may help you realize that you are not alone in your experience. 

Managing mental health in the Workplace

At Feeding Tampa Bay, we live by the “Honor All” pillar of our culture code. It states that every person has a life experience worthy of respect, dignity, and understanding. So in order to unify and make the biggest impact, we have to appreciate our differences in needs, abilities, and identities. 

Jayci Peters, FTB’s Chief Communication + Culture Officer knows this to be true. In the Stick a Fork in It podcast, she notes that workplaces should strive to make this sort of diversity an integral part of their organizational cultures. Staff members should feel like they have a safe space to share their struggles and circumstances. This allows work to be a place where: 

  • People are more productive
  • Stigmas are dismantled 
  • People feel supported and supportive

For a deeper dive into the mental health conversation, check out our podcast episode with Natasha Pierre and Jayci Peters here.

If you or someone you know is struggling emotionally, there are many ways you can seek help.