Staying sane at work – why I’m raising awareness about workplace depression

YOU’VE probably heard the statistics about mental health – one in four of us will suffer from a mental health issue at some point in our lives, writes guest blogger Debbie Stokoe.

We can become ill due to a stressful life event, such as a bereavement, divorce or redundancy. Sometimes it’s a chemical imbalance which causes us to become ill. Or you could be affected by stress and other negative events at work.

“I’ve started a Crowdfunding campaign to raise money to create the website. I have a stretch target of £500 which would be used for setting up a social enterprise to help those that are recovering from workplace depression and want to become self-employed. I would also like a chat facility on the website to give people real-time advice if they need it.”

According to the mental health charity Mind, 42 per cent of employees have considered resigning due to workplace stress. Stress and depression costs the UK economy nearly £6.5 billion per year (in 2014 10.4 million work days were lost to stress).

I personally have been badly affected by stress at work. I had to leave careers in the Law and teaching as a result of excessive workloads and a lack of support. I have had three episodes of severe depression, all linked to workplace stress (one bout occurred after a redundancy). My most recent episode, in 2013, resulted in hospitalisation and Electro Convulsive Therapy (ECT), which luckily worked for me.

Yes, I’ve been to hell and back, but I’ve learned a huge amount as a result of my experiences – I discovered a love of writing and blogging which has helped me through the difficult times. I now have a mental strength and determination that I didn’t have before. And I’m determined to help others who are suffering from work-related stress and depression.

I’m launching a website where people affected can find resources to help them to recover, information about workplace laws and employee rights and an inspirational blog which will feature stories of those who have been through workplace depression and come out of the other side.

North-East blogger and creative start-up coach at Tired to Inspired, Debbie Stokoe, is launching a new website to raise a new website about workplace depression.

North-East blogger and creative start-up coach at Tired to Inspired, Debbie Stokoe, is launching a new website to raise a new website about workplace depression.

I also want to provide information about self-employment, as often things get so bad that sufferers cannot envisage going back to work. Last year I became self-employed as a Copywriter and more recently a Coach, and I love helping others to leave employment behind and become self-employed. I realised after the third bout of depression that, for me, working for others was like trying to put a square peg into a round hole. It was never going to work! I am much happier now that I’m working for myself, and if I can help others to make that leap and use my experiences to help them that would be fantastic.

As well as providing resources and inspiration, I’m also passionate about raising awareness about workplace depression, as well as work/life balance and self-care. If the younger generation learn how to look after themselves and make sure they have balance in their lives, many cases of workplace depression can be prevented. Prevention is better than cure, and my aim is do talks in secondary schools, colleges and universities about my experiences and how to avoid letting work take over your life, and making you ill.

“Yes, I’ve been to hell and back, but I’ve learned a huge amount as a result of my experiences – I discovered a love of writing and blogging which has helped me through the difficult times. I now have a mental strength and determination that I didn’t have before. And I’m determined to help others who are suffering from work-related stress and depression.”

I’ve started a Crowdfunding campaign to raise money to create the website. I have a stretch target of £500 which would be used for setting up a social enterprise to help those that are recovering from workplace depression and want to become self-employed. I would also like a chat facility on the website to give people real-time advice if they need it. There is a lot of work to be done but life is so much easier when you’re passionate about your work – and now I know what I’m here to do I am ready for the challenge! Half of the battle is working out your “why” – what you’re passionate about and what you’re here to do.

Many of us get stuck in what I call our ‘default life’ – a job we end up in that pays the bills and is ok, but it doesn’t set your soul on fire. My coaching work helps people to figure out their why, their passions and then use that as a basis to explore self-employment options. My work also relies heavily on spirituality and personal development, which I discovered as a result of my illnesses. I’ve learned  – the hard way – that life’s too short to settle for anything!

CONTACT:

To donate to the workplace depression Crowdfunding campaign click here.

To find out more about Debbie Stokoe’s Tired to Inspired coaching work click here.

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