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Let’s talk about mental health

Image result for we all have mental health

Source: Anna Freud Institute

In the last couple of years, awareness of mental health has been increased. However, there’s still lots of work to do. In the workplace, mental health illnesses still not recognized the same as physical illnesses and the talk still being difficult for many people.

There is a lot of misinformation too. Many are not aware that they have mental health at all as they think it’s only a condition for people with already diagnosed illnesses. All of us have mental health. Any person can struggle and probably will struggle with their mental health once or multiple times during their lives and it’s completely normal. 

As we were saying, the talk still being very difficult not only in the workplace but also in the day to day. Some tips for making it easier and normalize it can be: 

  • Create the right conditions for active listening
  • Choose the right time – a break, lunch time… 
  • Find a place where you can speak privately
  • Make mental health something natural – because it is

 

How are you?

A simple question like that can make a big difference. You don’t need to wait until you find someone that can be potentially suffering from a mental health illness, it’s nice to ask people how they are. 

Crunch and burnout

Two words sadly very well known in the games industry. Burnout is defined as a combination of emotional exhaustion, depersonalisation (feeling cynical and detached) and low perceived efficacy. It leads to decreased performance, satisfaction, commitment, and increased turnover of employees. This in turn means that the organisation as a whole is less productive and less effective. It also leads to increased absence, lateness, and interpersonal conflict with colleagues. 

 

Checkpoint summarises some fantastic tips for fighting against burnout: 

 

  • Address your basic needs. Maslow’s hierarchy describes how self-actualisation (feeling the best you can) is mounted on the foundations of attending to your every day human needs. This means you have to eat (preferably well), drink water, sleep, have shelter, etc. Make sure you’re taking care of these first, before all else.
  • Exercise. Exercise is great, it releases endorphins, makes you happy, and gives you more energy.
  • Keep a diary of your stresses. Think about how you could improve them and try to consider strategies that are realistic. It’s good to talk about this with friends, family, etc, as they might come up with great suggestions you hadn’t thought of.
  • Relax. Make sure you spend time relaxing, however you choose to do it. Some people meditate, others read, have a hot bath, or a meal with their partner. It’s individual to you, but super important, and can make the world of difference. In fact, this is particularly important for people who work in games, as studies have shown that pursuing your hobby helps to buffer the effects of burnout even if you work in that hobby. So keep playing games!
  • Learn to say “no”. Your first priority should be you. The more you take on, the less of yourself you are able to give to all of these projects, and everybody has their limitations – you are not a superhero and cannot be expected to be one. If this is not possible in your place of work – as is often the case – consider delegation (giving the job to someone else) or raising the issue with your superior. They might not have realised how heavy the workload was.
  • Learn mindfulness and other productive stress management techniques. There are a number of wonderful apps which can be really useful in this pursuit because you can do it on the go.
  • See a professional. If you are really struggling or think you might have depression, anxiety or another mental health problem, don’t wait. Being on the right treatment could change your life.

Remember that despite having heavy amounts of work, if you don’t feel good anything will be good. Ask for help if you need it. 

 

Our charities are totally committed to the importance of raising awareness around mental health. Taking care of mental health and doing activities that help to maintain good mental health is vital for everyone but especially for the young people and children they support. 

  • Autistica even has in their blog a special section about mental health and autism. You can check it here
  • Solving Kids Cancer UK gives support on mental health to the families with children that suffer from neuroblastoma. 
  • Lifelites provides hospices with awesome technology that improves enormously children’s mental health. 
  • MAPS supports young people with mental health as they are living or lived very difficult situations in their lives.
  • Everyone Can through gaming sessions and other activities helps to improve the lives of children, young people and adults with disabilities.  
  • Access Sport makes a difference in their young people supported by organizing sports clubs and activities. These improve mental health and make people feel more integrated with the community. 
  • SpecialEffect through awesome controllers and special devices make disable people improve their mental health through videogames. 
  • The Clock Tower Sanctuary improves mental health in young people who are at risk of becoming homeless or don’t have a safe space to live in. They have a day centre with many activities for the people they support.

 

Mental health is important to everyone. Take care of yours! 

 

Sources: https://checkpointorg.com/

https://mentalhealth-uk.org/