Mental health issues are not being addressed effectively and we are currently ill-equipped overall as a society to deal with the demons we continue to feed. The statistics are clear. 1 in 5 Americans has a mental health issue. Can a repeat offender of sexual harassment be suffering from multiple mental health issues?

When I learned that psychiatrists are gagged when it comes to talking publicly about political figures by what is known as the Goldwater rule, I choked on my thoughts. I found myself wondering more and more about what leadership meant. In an effort to stay professional and true to my better self, I swallowed the profanity.

The issues around poor, flawed leadership in Hollywood can lead you to a point of desperation, can make you practically break down the door of people you have never met in a cry for help to save the world. Then to learn it has been potentially covered up, is unfathomable. And yet, today, I feel hopeful. A threat once recognized is able to be neutralized. The first steps make the marathon possible. I can see it in the far distance, a new reality. A reality where sex isn’t needed to sell or buy anything.

We have created an environment where people are exploited in the Entertainment industry, we often applaud and perpetuate the sexualization of human beings. All people. Are we a part of this environment and we are responsible?

Humans are not perfect. We make choices. Some of us acknowledge them. We have built houses in swamps, made of glass and handed people canons.

I ask you commit to learning first. Then teaching. Ask your coaches, your parents, your teachers and doctors and their children, to have a basic understanding of Piaget’s theory of cognitive development, Erik Erikson’s Development of the Ego and Lawrence Kohlberg’s theory on the stages of moral development.

Ask yourself two questions

  1. Do you trust the world?
  2. Do you really know what a healthy, moral and safe mental environment looks like?

CEO’s are people too

Leaders are not immune to mental health issues. 

Psychopathic behavior in the general population is about one in a 100. What’s a little closer to home for me, is that studies have found that not only are 21 percent of corporate execs psychopathic, and it is the same percentage of prison inmates.

Harassment defined

My definition of harassment includes any unwanted behavior which does not stop once the receiver makes it clear it is not wanted.

This may seem very black and white. By George, it is. The behavior in question in the media recently, is unwanted and yet I feel in many ways we continue to allow it. We allow it into our lives, as participants or as spectators. The Cambridge dictionary refers to harassment as behavior that annoys or troubles someone. Well I am troubled and I am annoyed. The Oxford dictionary defines it as aggressive pressure or intimidation.

I have never felt more aggressive pressure to speak up for our global community now, and for the children you tuck into bed at night, the leaders of tomorrow.

Are Dogs part of the Answer?

My theory speaks of the humble working Dog. It is based on the theory of servant leadership. In the words of Frances Hasselbein President and CEO of the Frances Hesselbein Leadership Institute, “To serve, is to live”.

Service and/or Therapy Dogs may be part of the answer to help us heal while we are at work. According to Gallup, the average Americans’ workweek includes individuals taking on more than one job. According to past Gallup data, 86% of full-time workers have just one job, 12% have two, and 1% have three or more. However, even by restricting the analysis to full-time workers who have only one job, the average number of hours worked is 47 — still well over 40. And we know there’s an increase of people working remotely. Last year, 43 percent of employed Americans said they spent at least some time working remotely, according to the survey of more than 15,000 adults. You have to wonder, are they working side by side with their furry companions?

Dr. Kangas and Certified Behaviorist Colleen Demming weigh in on some of the ways they can help with those who are suffering from depression and anxiety and other mental health issues. PTSD is not just suffered by veterans. Trauma affects our every day lives and in turn our work places and our ability to lead effectively and efficiently.

Dogs help us by giving us a sense of responsibility for their well-being, they give us true Unconditional love and they can recognize the signs of a panic. They also help us release feel good hormones.

“In today’s society, with the advance of internet and technological connection, we are losing real interpersonal connection, and that is contributing to more emotional problems and disorders,” Dr. Kangas explains. “Love and connection does exist in the world, and animals are a great resource to find this within one’s life.”

What can dogs teach and do for us?

I believe they can and do teach us about compassionate empathy, empathic concern – a concept I learned from the work of Daniel Goleman, expert on social and emotional intelligence, and Paul Ekman, world expert on emotions. We need to act spontaneously where needed. Like right now.

Every single time you hear a story about a dog risking it’s life to save another animal or a human, this is perhaps a version of compassionate empathy. They serve us daily. Dogs are trained to lead the blind. In my opinion, we can be blinded by disgust, and when it comes to serving others, it can go in the too hard basket-case.

Next steps

  • Act! Open a dialogue. Talk today about your mental health.
  • Be personally accountable and instill hope, learn about mental health.
  • Actively Listen and commit personally to helping others.
  • Support organizations against Harassment like Hollaback!

Let’s move on making a difference for our mental health!

What do you think? Can we meet Reality with Optimism and get what I call Reaptimistic?

Jamie is the Founder and Chief Dream Officer at Reaptimistic.

Reaptimistic offers realistically optimistic coaching on leadership and HR services based in Los Angeles, with a twist, our leadership theories are based on the humble dog, love and the code of care, to T – H – I – N – K. Is True, Is it Helpful, it is Inspiring, Is it Necessary and is it Kind?

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