Another interesting article on Mental Health from the UK

As many of my readers know I read a lot of articles from all over the world. I am U.S. based and we are WAY behind the rest of the world in terms of mental health awareness. A horrible place to be for a society that encourages gun ownership…. I mean you would think we would be investing heavily into mental health services and studies where everyone is armed to the hilt. I even own fire arms, but I digress…

So our friends in the UK are starting to focus on mental health issues and how it will impact employers in 2020

Perhaps this is the best avenue to take to induce more change in mental health. When businesses are affected a broader swath of the public at large takes note.

From the article: “Greater awareness, and implementation of policies relating to the issue will help. Further, as awareness grows, and as employees become more comfortable discussing mental health issues, employers will likely start to provide more support for employees. The lack of early identification and support (whether or not the employer’s responsibility) is often the issue. The silence and stigma are without doubt a contributing factor.”

The article elaborates a great deal on Prince Williams work on the issue, he has taken a leading role in the discussion and that has created a higher profile to the issue. The article is without question a European/UK piece and I’m not saying that smugly but there are concepts and undertones within the text that simply don’t translate well to a U.S. or Asian culture. Simply put, European governments have put a much greater emphasis on work place corporate accountability.

There are far more “pro” worker laws there, and this is largely without unions (all though they do exist) I think the article does a decent job of illuminating the issues, from a work place perspective. I am not sure it can translate completely abroad. In the U.S. for example, most employment is “at will” you really don’t have many rights as a worker. On the positive side you are also not beholden to an employer either. Ideally, we meet in the middle somewhere. I know if I was working for an employer who created the conditions by which I could have better outcomes with mental health I would be far more loyal to that company and much more productive.

What I would like to see in the U.S. (can’t speak for our Asian friends on this one) is governments incentives companies to offer more services and benefits. I believe companies would do this in earnest if there were more reward to doing it. We can’t simply dismiss out of hand a companies need for profits, its how we have accumulated so much wealth in the west. That said a touch more balance toward more worker benefits would be a pleasant change. Certainly, our friends in the UK seem to be attempting to have the discussion, seems like a great place to start

House plants for anxiety relief ?

Getting out to nature is one of the easiest simplest things you can do to relieve stress. This tip makes it on to almost every stress relief site you will find, there is just something about being around plants, nature, no electronics…

I stumbled upon an interesting article here

Our friends in the UK are now getting prescribed house plants to help treat anxiety. It’s the same principal as above, just on a smaller scale. The more you are around nature, no matter how small the higher your chances are to relieve stress.

From the article: “Interest in gardens in healthcare is growing, says Ross, as the U.K.’s National Health Service grows more interested in finding ways to prevent illness. “There’s a limited amount of money, and they’ve realized that they can’t just keep paying to treat people,” he says. “They’re going to have to start thinking about preventing people from getting ill. That’s the big paradigm shift here in healthcare.”

Preventing people from getting ill is paramount to moving us forward in the fight against anxiety and depression. Is a house plant going to cure your anxiety? Probably not but caring for a plant, watching it grow, seeing it add color and complexity to your everyday surroundings is going to affect you, even a little.

It’s a psychological trick really but encouraging people to have house plants you are investing them in the care of a life form reliant on them almost exclusively. When that plant flowers, its logical to assume that the person caring for the plant was largely responsible for the pleasant outcome. I know it’s a small thing, but have you ever tending a garden? Have you ever fed your family from the fruits of your labor?

I have, and I now grow flowers in my yard every year. Its awesome, I have a large variety myself and while it hasn’t saved me outright from anxiety there is a calming sense I get when I pull into my driveway and see all these magnificent flowers. Perhaps you don’t have a lot of space to cultivate? Therefore, a house plant is a great way to induce some of the same effects.

Not just any house plant though, you want to get something that changes the environment. Either by color or by scent, something that when you come into the space you notice the plant. One of my first indoor plants was a dwarf lemon tree, I will never forget it. I had a perfect spot for it, it got great sun light and, in the spring, when it bloomed the entire room smelled like lemon it was awesome. I got fruit from it too. That tree was 25 years ago (again, I am ancient) I’ll never forget it, I still smile writing about it.

Maybe something similar will work for you?