Can you guess?

Not everyone may be recognisable to you so let me introduce you to each of them. Starting from top left we have Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post and Thrive Global and the author of the bestselling books The Sleep Revolution and Thrive.

Top middle is Geoff MacDonald, ex-VP of Unilever and a speaker and consultant who has made it his mission to remove the stigma of mental health in the working world.

Top right is Antonio Horta Osario, the Chief Executive of Lloyds Banking Group. He had a burnout several years ago but was able to return to his position at the helm of Lloyds after two leaves of absence.

Bottom left is probably an easy one – Prince Harry.

Bottom right is Neil Laybourn and Jonny Benjamin. Jonny was found sitting on the edge of Waterloo Bridge in 2008 when Neil walked past and asked him if he was ok. This caused Jonny to pause, during which time the police arrived and took him off. They reunited several years later and now visit schools and corporates to raise awareness of mental health.

What do they all have in common?

They are all ambassadors for mental health in one way or another.

What is mental health?

The definition of mental health according to the World Health Organisation:

“Mental health is not just the absence of mental disorder. It is defined as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.”

In this context, we are mainly referring to stress, anxiety, depression or burnout. Everyone has mental health, and we all will have experienced low or poor mental health at some point in our lives. It might be depression, low self-esteem, anxiety, chronic stress or struggling with an addiction.

The people you see in this picture are ambassadors for good mental health. They are aspirational role models, who inspire honesty and believe that mental health should be treated and talked about in the same way as physical health.

Promoting good mental health

We need more people like them to come forward and be open about how they feel, particularly within the working world.

I heard a wonderful anecdote from a client when she visited the doctor to discuss her depressive symptoms. He asked her if she would allow him to treat her arm if it was broken; she said yes. He then asked her why she wouldn’t let him treat the broken synapses in her brain in the same way – she ended up saying yes.

Our health is our health – it doesn’t matter if you’re symptoms are mental or physical, if it’s affecting your health and happiness, it needs addressing and should be spoken about openly. Interestingly, sometimes issues with mental health manifest themselves as physical symptoms (click here to read my recent blog on this subject), so it can be easy to mistake the two. I discuss this in my bestselling book Rise and Shine.

What can I do?

If you think you’re suffering from poor mental health, tell someone. They don’t need to be an expert or a professional, just share with someone else how you’re feeling. That’s the first step, and then you might then decide you need to see your doctor or another professional to help you. Sometimes just sharing how you feel with someone else can be very empowering.

If you run a company or manage a team, check out the work of the [email protected] community run by Geoff MacDonald and Georgie Mack. Consider whether you’ve created a culture that is open and permissive with regards to mental health, and if not, look around to see who is doing it well and emulate them. Bodyshot offer wellbeing consultancy packages, and we’d love to talk to you. Click here for more information.

What’s your Health IQ?

If you’re reading this, you’re are probably in a reasonably senior position, running your own business or have a busy life running the home and juggling other responsibilities. Either way, you’re busy. The convergent pressures of work and family life have probably meant that the time you did have to spend on health and fitness has disappeared. Why not talk to us and see how we can help.

Click here to take our test.

Leanne Spencer is an entrepreneur, coach, TEDx Speaker, author of Remove the Guesswork, and founder of Bodyshot Performance Limited. Bodyshot is a health and fitness consultancy that helps busy professionals get more energy by removing the guesswork around their health, fitness and nutrition. Visit www.bodyshotperformance.com or email [email protected] to register your interest in our services and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Author(s)

  • Leanne is an award-winning entrepreneur and the founder of Bodyshot Performance Limited. She delivered a TEDx talk on 'Why fitness is more important than weight', is the author of bestselling books 'Remove the Guesswork' and 'Rise and Shine', and hosts a podcast called ’Remove the Guesswork‘. Leanne is the founder of Bodyshot Performance, an award-winning health and wellbeing company. Bodyshot Performance work with businesses of up to 500 people who want to create a culture of energy, vitality and performance through the business and position wellbeing as a competitive advantage. Bodyshot intersect the latest science and technology to provide unique solutions to the challenge of wellbeing in the workplace that have a direct impact on the bottom line. Our clients have won awards for wellbeing and recognise it directly improves employee engagement and retention and attracts talent into the business.  We also work with chronically stressed or burned out professionals to get you back in control of your health and able to do the things you want to do in life. My expertise is around health, fitness and wellbeing, specifically focusing on sleep, mental health, energy, body composition, digestion and fitness. I host a popular podcast on iTunes called ’Remove the Guesswork ‘, and in November 2016 I delivered a TEDx talk on 'Why fitness is more important than weight'. I’m the author of the bestselling books 'Remove the Guesswork' and 'Rise and Shine' and I regularly speak to corporates on health and wellbeing. My personal values are to live truthfully, considerately and to "suck all the marrow out of life" as Thoreau said. I support the charity Diversity Role Models which works to combat homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying. I recently completed the world’s toughest ski race to raise £10,125 for Alzheimer's Research as my father-in-law was profoundly ill with Alzheimers, and I am on a constant mission to find ways to live in a way that is sustainable and environmentally friendly. I love sport, fitness, reading, gardening, business, podcasting, and being with my cat and our scampish little rescue dog, Kami from Romania.