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Tuesday 10th October is World Mental Health Day, and this year’s focus, as decided by the World Federation for Mental Health is ‘Mental health is a universal human right’. The aim of World Mental Health Day is to raise awareness of mental health and drive positive change for the benefit of all. It’s also a chance to talk about mental health, how we need to look after it, and how important it is to get help if you’re struggling.

With this in mind, we spoke to Adam Rymell, Recruitment Consultant at Insignis/STR Group, and all-round lovely chap. He wants to encourage everyone who might be struggling with their mental health to speak up. This is his story.

Meet Adam

Adam has always been quite an upbeat, happy individual. He enjoys socialising and spending lots of time with others, normally being the first to commit to social events and being there until the end. A lot of people have commented on how positive and cheerful he generally is. He also suffers with depression, being diagnosed at just 17-years old.

Having an absent father for most of his childhood, Adam had an extremely close relationship with his Grandad, a former marine, who he would turn to for advice and support. His Grandad encouraged him and supported him with one of his main passions, rugby, which he competed in at a competitive level. Unfortunately, Adam lost his Grandad at 17-years old and shortly afterwards sustained a severe shoulder injury. Without his Grandad, he struggled to manage his thoughts and emotions, not knowing who to turn to; although the 2nd youngest of 5, he was normally the ‘big brother’ to all of his siblings and was used to people turning to him (a role he’s always been very happy to play!).

In the wake of these events, Adam was diagnosed with depression. Since then, he has suffered from flare-ups, although they also seem to go away of their own accord. Initially reluctant to mention his diagnosis at work, it eventually came out in Adam’s end of year review in 2021. His Operations Director had picked up that he was quieter and more withdrawn. Adam was reassured by his colleagues that they and the company would provide him with whatever support he needed.

Shortly after that, Adam began to struggle with chronic insomnia and went back to see his GP, but knew there was more going on. Initially prescribed sleeping tablets, follow-up services were provided, giving Adam access to the Talking Change programme. Although these sessions were on Mondays at 11am, Adam found that his managers were true to their word, providing him with time off to attend the sessions, which provided him with advice and coping mechanisms.

“Covid was a weird time for everyone, and it certainly took its toll on all those with existing mental health issues. My manager and director at the time were incredibly supportive and good to me.”

When depression hits, Adam finds himself catastrophising, so works hard to avoid it but then ends up burning himself out yet more. Although generally feeling good now, he feels he can never be complacent. When tired and stressed, Adam can have a couple of bad days or hours and has to work to get out of it.

Adam has recently become a dad for the first-time. After his fiancée’s very tough pregnancy and birth, with his baby daughter making an early appearance, he is absolutely loving life as a father! He jokes that:

“Once you get past the significant lack of sleep, it is the best thing that I’ve ever done. It has given him an indescribable sense of purpose and drive to provide for our baby girl.”

Although still facing mental challenges, he is in a far better position to deal with these and feels fully supported by the business he’s in.

Advice for others

Adam has the following advice for all those battling with their mental health:

  • Don’t be afraid to talk to someone – family or friend.
  • If you can’t, go to your doctor. Take that first step.
  • Make sure you have healthy and positive relationships.
  • At work, you can ask to speak to your manager or HR in confidence.
  • Remember, there’s no shame in asking for help.
  • Try the NHS Mental Health page if you’re not sure where to start.

What can I do as an employer?

To support your employees, invest in a healthcare programme that provides a mental health support service. For more advice, download our checklist ‘Workplace Mental Wellbeing’ to self-assess your current employee wellbeing strategy and practices. This will help you to establish what you already have in place, identify any gaps, and pinpoint what actions will help you make improvements.