While I agree with the idea that it is helpful to be able to talk to managers and colleagues if you have mental health issues (It can be a wonderful freeing moment, G2, 8 April) it very much depends on the attitudes of those you work with as to the outcome.
I tried to lessen the stigma around these issues by sharing some of my difficulties with colleagues in an appropriate way, but when I was open with the CEO of the small company where I had worked for over 10 years, I came to regret it. My difficulties were seen as personal weaknesses, I was not paid for time taken for mental health treatments (despite appointments for medical treatments for other staff being taken as paid time off), and I was not supported in any way. This was despite the relevant staff member being a qualified psychologist.
Training and awareness is great, but there also needs to be the will to accept and to understand. It can be very difficult to judge a person’s attitude towards mental health issues in advance of broaching the subject with them. I hope we can find a way to overcome this.
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• We know that local authorities are prioritising early intervention for young people’s mental health, and it’s positive that they are. But as Sally Weale notes (Report, theguardian.com, 10 April), the funds available simply do not go far enough. Until the government can guarantee there will not be a postcode lottery for young people with mental health issues, we will continue to see young people fall down the cracks. Educators are in a position to provide early intervention support for students’ mental health, but if they are not given adequate funding and time to do this, we will still be fighting a losing battle.
Headteacher of Ashcroft School, Together Trust
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