Updated: Jun 18, 2020
In our fourth Survive and Revive one of the best-known business development managers in the travel industry, Walter Nand, talked to Richard about Men’s Mental Health. View the recording by clicking on the above image or via the link at the top of the article.
Having worked in the travel industry for over 30 years, Walter now combines his two passions of travel and motorcycles into Ride The World Motorcycle Tours. In the webinar, Walter tells us about his personal experience with clinical depression and uses his own knowledge and strategies to help our community start an open conversation about a significantly important topic. We’ve put together a few of Walter’s suggestions specifically for men who may be experiencing anxious or depressive thoughts. These tips are also helpful for partners, friends, colleagues and managers who may need more information on properly supporting those dealing with mental health issues.
Lessons from Personal Experience
· "It is not okay, to not be okay" in the workplace, argues Walter. Many companies mismanage situations where employees change character or act out as a result of mental illness.
· Walter argues that this sphere needs a lot more education and that disciplining staff whose behaviour changes should not be the first answer. Managers must instead work with employees to understand their situation, through different meetings and different conversations.
· Often the strongest, most popular men are the ones that fall the hardest. Hiding any sign of weakness prevents many from expressing internal emotions.
· It takes time to get to the point of suicidal thoughts. Walter’s vision is to talk about this reality, especially with men in the travel industry, to stop it in its tracks and work with different tools to counter thoughts of taking the ultimate step.
Advice to get on the Front Foot
· Understand and acknowledge thoughts and feelings. Although you can’t stop a thought entering your head, you can control how you decide to deal with it. You can catch the thought and turn it from negative to positive. This is strategy takes patience, practice and persistence.
· Focus on what you can control: not the external forces but your response and how you react.
· Talk to your partner, friend, colleague or health professional. Internal dialogue is not the same as talking it out loud. Verbalising your thoughts can take the edge off.
Suggestions for Right Now
· Limit social media. Most of the content on our screens is negative and reinforces that a catastrophe is going on. Switch off news and social media for hour blocks during the day, before bedtime and as soon as you wake up.
· Read a book or watch a movie and transport yourself somewhere else.
· Instead of falling into holiday mode, plan your days as you would if you were at work.
· Remember this shutdown is only temporary and companies will be hiring again. This is a time to refocus, work on your goals, update your CV and upskill your knowledge through online tutorials, to ensure you are marketable on the bounce back.
· When you talk to others, remember to be positive, think of ways you can make their day better and this will naturally lift your spirits too.
· Australians are entitled to five free visits to a mental health professional with a doctor’s referral. There are also many support networks out there and platforms such as Lifeline or Beyondblue. Walter encourages to take advantage of these especially during this period.
To keep the conversation going about men’s mental health, and to find out more about Walter’s work, follow the links below or contact Richard via firstname.lastname@example.org