Having just seen some really worrying posts on a Facebook site for commercial vehicle drivers I felt I had to look further into how social media can affect our performance at work however, not long into my first lines I heard of the tragic passing of Caroline Flack, a well known TV presenter and broadcaster. This news came as a total shock to many but, no surprise to some who knew Caroline well and knew her mental state had been affected by adverse publicity.
The perception of successful people is one of health and happiness, fame and fortune but, does all of this bring happiness and what makes someone doing so well become so depressed that the only solution is ending their life?
No matter how famous or successful we are the one thing we all have in common is we are only human and humans are susceptible to poor mental and physical health. Social and peer pressure is the same regardless of fame and fortune, some deal well with short term stress others not so.
Theresa May commissioned a review into mental health in the workplace, the Stevenson-Farmer review which you can see here…
This review sets out the recommendations employer’s should put in place to ensure their employee’s mental health is given priority and most importantly, how to deal with mental health and how to signpost people who are suffering poor mental health.
Caroline Flack was relieved of her role as a presenter by her employer with some sources indicating she had not been given sufficient support during her time awaiting the CPS decision and trial. Her employer denies any allegation that they did not help Caroline but, they stated they had been willing to support her. How much support did she receive and who from?
Caroline was obviously a well liked person with many close friends and family and would undoubtedly have been given support by many of those close to her. How much support is enough and what can we do to try to stop this kind of pressure on not just the famous but also the men and the women in the street?
Staying away from social media was a good move in my case as it became more and more toxic in the run up to the election and the ongoing Brexit saga. I saw posts from people I once admired calling names, labelling people, using threats and divisive language, not just friends but politicians, actors, musicians and just about every walk of life with an opinion weighing in. This type of behaviour could and did and always will have an impact on people, it will divide and it will breed anger and resentment however, even after recent events I still see the very same hurtful comments being made in many cases by the same people!
So, can social media impact on our mental health? Yes, without a doubt and so poor mental health will now affect my work life as well as my home life. Social media can be addictive and extremely difficult to let go of for many although sometimes it is best to leave social media and concentrate on regaining your good mental health, not easy but, we have to get rid of the part of our lives causing the stress if our health is suffering surely?
So, what can I do if my mental health is affecting my work and home life? Deal with the problem if possible however, talking to someone is without doubt the best place to start. Letting someone you know you are struggling can be the first step to dealing with the problems we face not just from social media but from daily life, the stress and anxiety that many of us face on a regular basis, even the rich and famous have to deal with the same issues, we are all human beings at the end of the day.
Many people feel it is a sign of weakness to talk about mental health, men in particular find confiding in a friend or colleague embarrassing and this unfortunately is reflected in the high death by suicide rates amongst males in the UK. If you can’t talk to a friend, colleague or family member then your next step is a health care professional, either your GP or many NHS trusts now have an IAPT scheme (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) which give help, advice and information on self-help, online therapy, wellbeing sessions, stress control, living with long term pain and much more.
If you are a manager or supervisor who would like to know more about how to support employees in the workplace then maybe either of these sessions are for you.
Whilst I understand social media is good in many ways it also has a dark side that, if used incorrectly can cause mental health issues so, with that in mind hopefully the huge companies running the many social media platforms are aware of this and will be focussing on how to deal with the many issues caused! I have read that some people want to introduce passport ID to enable the user to be traced in the case of cyber bullying etc. I for one would welcome this as a way to tighten up on the people who are hell bent on causing grief for others whilst hiding behind a keyboard.