Lets Talk Mental Health

Lets Talk Mental Health

With mental health issues continuing to affect trades workers throughout the UK, we get some advice on a few of the warning signs to look out for and how to approach someone that you might suspect is suffering in silence.
My name is Ryan Dempsey and I’m now the CEO of a software company I founded way back when I worked for a large local authority. I created the company in 2013 before taking the full-time position at the beginning of 2017 and haven’t looked back since.

Now, I know what you’re probably thinking: ‘why is this guy writing in PE?’ Well, here goes…
I’m originally an electrician by trade. After a short spell in the miliary and then the police, I fell into the electrical industry somewhat by mistake. To cut a long story short, I progressed through the qualifications whilst gaining valuable experience in the sector.

I eventually fell in love with the science and principles around testing and inspecting and ended up testing for a local authority contract. Once this started it wasn’t long before I was working in the authority and quickly climbing the ranks.
In my time in local authority, I started making a lot of noise around competence, quality, standards and development of the electrical industry, based on things I was seeing and experiencing. I called people out, acted the ‘goat’ as they say, and eventually found myself stood in front of the industry giving my view of the world.
What followed was EngTech Elec, Electrical Safety guidance documents for the social housing sector and a Fellowship for my efforts all round. I then met a chap who blew my mind with his passion and desires for the sector, and from that meeting the e5 group was born.

So, now you know a little bit behind the person writing the important stuff, let’s talk mental health.
Firstly, I’ll say that there may be some ‘triggers’ in this article, so please be mindful.
A few years ago, I was approached by a friend, Asif Choudry (Resource), who asked me if I would take part in a 30-day challenge to raise awareness of Men’s Mental Health. The challenge was called #ShareYourS**t and it involved me doing 25 press ups each day for 30 days and videoing them for social media.
As with most things in my life, I always like to try and get my teeth into the reasons why, so took a deep dive into the world of mental health. What followed changed my life!

Mental health issues aren’t just about being sad or suffering from stress related disorders; it’s attributed to our emotions, psychological and social well-being. Mental health affects how we think, how we feel and in almost all cases, how we act.
It may be triggered by things that seem irrelevant to some but are clearly important to others. It’s also abundantly clear that depression in today’s world can, in large parts, be attributed to the rise in popularity of things like social media and the ability to see what people want you to see whilst misdirecting you from reality.
I’ve learned over the last few years that when you’re in a crowded room watching people laugh and smile, there’s a reality that people are scared to expose. You won’t ever have the super powers to spot those who are suffering because they’re normally doing a tremendous job of hiding it.
However, you may be able to spot it in people you care about and who you’ve known for a while. There will be cracks in their armour and paying attention may be the difference between life and death, literally.

If you see a change in behaviour, such as someone you love staring into space more often, struggling to sleep or forgetting things like major events etc, don’t just accept that as a change, instead ask if they’re alright. Ask it in a way that shows you’re interested in the answer.
In most cases you should prepare yourself for the fact that they’re likely going to say: ‘yes, everything is fine’, and this is ok. You can’t fix where they’re at – all you can do is demonstrate that they have a passenger who at any point they can lean on when they’re ready. Remember that the hardest thing in the world to do is present what you personally feel as a weakness to someone who may see you as a rock.

The world is changing and it’s more important than ever to #BeKind. If you find yourself in a position where you can say something and you know its offensive, intentionally negative or unkind, just show some self-discipline and don’t do it. It’ll be worth far more to you and that individual in the long run.