Life @ Schneider Blog

Men…it’s ok to be open, it’s ok to talk

Why climb a MOUNTAIN in the DARK and pouring RAIN?

Throughout November we are raising the focus on the important topic of Men’s Mental Health.

With 85% of employees in our sector being men, we recognise the importance of raising awareness of men’s health, particularly, mental health. According to research by the Men’s Health Forum, men are less likely than women to disclose a mental health problem or seek medical support.

For men in particular, who’ve been told all their lives to “man up” and “be strong,” accessing mental health resources can seem to go against cultural expectations.

However, over the past several years, there’s been growing supportive interest around the subject of male mental health.  Today we hear from Michael Ward, EcoXpert Account Manager, on why it was so key to smash those stereotypes, taking every opportunity to show how he cared, listened, and supported his colleagues, just as they continued to support him. He also shares how a group of #SEGreatPeople teamed up to raise awareness and £11,000 for the charity ‘Mind’. They came together and climbed Snowdon mountain in the dark of night!

Here is his story:

Men talking

I’ve done some other activities before to support charities, but I just felt with all that had come before our group and given we were meant to do this pre-Covid, it gave us all much more of a boost and motivated us further. Some of our team had lost loved ones over the last couple of years for various reasons. And mental challenges they could never of imagined would’ve been bestowed upon them.

Personally, I had my own battles! I consider myself a mentally tough individual, very resilient to a lot of what life throws at you. But these past few years I have had some dark moments.

My relationship with my daughter went from us sharing a memorable trip to Florida in the November before Covid, laughing our way through two weeks of absolute joy. Jumping in our American muscle car we rented in our joggers and pyjamas and taking a late cruise through the doughnut drive-through. To the thrills of rollercoaster rides at many of the Florida theme parks. Then Covid hit and I’ve seen my daughter once in two years, due to the anxiety that a teenage girl has from the stories of Covid, as well as the stresses of growing up and exams! I get it, I do, and probably a similar story for many parents. Although we’ve actually lived apart for 15 years and it never stopped us from seeing each other before. Who knows why? But it felt like I was grieving like someone had passed. Messages dried up and now I only hope one day she will come knocking. And of course, I will always be there for my little girl! Well not so little now 😊…….

So this is my story, my openness to the world to say it’s perfectly normal to share your thoughts, to admit that as tough as you may think you are, we are all humans and all need to talk! I shared my story with people I now feel ever closer to and trusting. And if our trek up a mountain, no matter how wet and dark it was and mentally challenging, if it makes one person pick up a phone or talk to a friend/colleague,  and stops them going into a dark place or even worse taking their own life, then I would and will do it again! Another mountain? Or even a Marathon 😉

We are all humans and all need to TALK!

With Michael sharing his story, this opens the door for all of us.

In our lives, many of us may experience a mental health problem and for anyone who experiences a mental health problem, talking about it with anyone may seem scary and difficult. Even intimidating.

Often the silence can be as bad as the symptoms themselves.  However, by speaking up, we can all raise awareness, and with our support and care, we could change someone’s life.

So, if a friend or colleague says they’re fine, they might not be.  A second “how are you?” can make all of the difference.

At Schneider Electric UK&I, we provide support to our employees through our Employee Assistant Programmes offered by professional external providers to confidentially support the mental health of our employees at no extra costs!

Learn more about Schneider Electric and apply for jobs here: www.se.com/careers 

 

Men talking

About Michael

Michael Ward based in the UK and an EcoXpert Account Manager. He is a highly motivated, passionate person. He looks to take a prominent role in sharing all this passion and positivity throughout our team, encouraging openness from within and a culture of mental wellbeing. He enjoys playing Football, Boxing, Golf, Walking and anything that creates a feel-good factor!

 

 

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