How burnout became a sinister and insidious epidemic
The Guardian 21st February 2018
Sara Cox, who had to give up her career. ‘It felt like every day I was walking through thick mud.’ Photograph: Christopher Thomond for the Guardian
This significant article highlights well the “iceberg” effect in mental health where so much for so many is hidden under the surface and emerges with increases of stress over time. Describing burnout as “a vital exhaustion” spoke powerfully to me about the potency of the condition. You can read the article here:
Asking ourselves, in any workplace or even in our homes and with our families, what factors could be addressed to help avoid worsening mental health and the conditions that produce burnout, would be good questions to pose I think. I like that the article includes attitudes and environmental factors that were found to be protective; a sense of purpose, a sense of belonging, autonomy but with clarity and presence!
Creating that environment is a challenge. So is enabling an atmosphere where it is normal and easy for individuals to talk about mental health. To me that has to be another protective factor. This connects with our previous blogs on the Time to Talk day and keeping a debate going around that approach in society generally to mental health that I mentioned in my welcome blog. Let us look at what we can do ourselves to improve that environment, keep the awareness raised out there and continue the conversation.
Please feel free to join the discussion by commenting and let us know what you think.
It is estimated that one in four people in England suffer from a common mental health disorder each year yet, according to Time to Change’s Attitude to mental illness 2014 report, 23% of respondents said they would feel uncomfortable talking to their friends and family about their mental health and a staggering 48% said that they would feel uncomfortable talking about their mental health with their employer. While the report does show that there is a positive trend in the number of people who feel comfortable talking about mental health issues in both their private and professional lives since 2009; clearly there is still a long way to go.
Thursday 1st February 2018 will be Time to Change’s fifth Time to Talk Day: a day on which people are encouraged to talk, listen, and think about mental health in order to cultivate a more informed and tolerant attitude towards mental illness. Even if you feel you have nothing to say; simply letting someone know that you are there to listen should they need it can make all the difference. Time to Change has resource packs for both communities and employers with materials and ideas to help get the conversation going as well as a map of events taking place in your area to mark Time to Talk Day
If you or someone you know suffers from a mental health problem see Mind’s information and support page for information on the varieties of mental health problems and what help and support is available to you.
 McManus, S., Meltzer, H., Brugha, T. S., Bebbington, P. E., & Jenkins, R. (2009). Adult psychiatric morbidity in England, 2007: results of a household survey.
 UK Department of Health. Attitudes to Mental Illness 2014 Research Report. Department of Health, United Kingdom, 2014.
What is your biggest question about mental health?
What change would you like to see in society’s approach to mental health problems?
Here at Crossroads Counselling we are interested in finding out what you think and in contributing towards the many debates in this area.
As our new website launches and we venture into new territory with our brand new blog page we want to know your views.
Crossroads has been serving the people of Tower Hamlets for over 23 years in offering much-needed, long-term, professional counselling for hundreds of people over this time and we have seen and learnt much along the way.
Mental health is undergoing a sea-change in how it is portrayed in the media and who is speaking out and sharing about these issues.
We plan to have a voice ourselves here at Crossroads and we want you to be part of that!
So a huge welcome to you. Come and join in!