It's okay to talk

Enterprise Rent-A-Car is committed to promoting an inclusive work environment where employees feel valued, supported and free to be their true selves.

A key aspect of this is supporting people through mental health issues. Estimates indicate that as many as one in four people are affected by conditions like anxiety, depression, and stress every year.

This is why in July, Senior Vice President for UK and Ireland, Khaled Shahbo, signed the Time to Change pledge on behalf of Enterprise. This is a commitment to change how people think and act about mental health across Enterprise, ensuring employees facing these problems feel supported and valued.

As someone who has dealt with depression and anxiety for the past 25 years, the European Bid Team Manager and Mental Health First Aider at EU HQ, James Martin, says the workplace plays a crucial role in helping employees maintain good mental health.

“My illness does not stop me from working. Rather working helps me manage my illness better. Work provides structure, keeps me occupied, gives me a sense of achievement and helps me recognise that failures are a part of all our lives,” said James.

Research shows people facing mental health issues say that the associated isolation can be worse than the condition itself. According to a survey commissioned by the Mental Health Foundation men are far less likely than women to seek professional support for their mental illness.

So, while two-thirds of men said that they had felt overwhelmed or unable to cope due to stress at some point over the past year, only a quarter had discussed this with a friend or family member. All the other chose to stay silent and pretended that they were fine.

My illness does not stop me from working. Rather working helps me manage my illness better. Work provides structure, keeps me occupied,
gives me a sense of achievement and helps me recognise that failures are a part of all our lives.

Everyone can feel down, stressed or frightened. While for many these feelings pass quickly, for some they develop into mental health problems such as anxiety or depression, which can impact our daily lives.

Awareness of mental health issues means that the Enterprise culture encourages managers to create a space where people know it’s okay to talk about mental health. One of the first, and easiest, things you can do to start improving mental health is simply to start a conversation.

“My line manager has been a positive influence for me,” James said. “He was always willing to make time for me – something more valuable than many realise. He made time to ask how I am doing and was interested in the answer. He made time to listen when my illness was playing my head again. Time to have a cup of tea and talk. Time to be normal.”

If you would like more information, speak to your line manager or your HR manager and they will be able to help you. You can also find information on your eligibility for Enterprise Employee Assistance Programmes at http://youdrive.enterpriseholdings.com/benefits-c/uk-benefits-resources/ and on the HUB.

by Ayshee Akhtar

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