Why I’m trying to break a world record to improve industry mental health
Livity co-founder Michelle Morgan is launching a bid to break the world record for the biggest online mental health workshop. Here, she explains why.
Michelle Morgan is attempting to break a mental health world record / Unsplash
Experiencing poor mental health can be lonely, and loneliness can impact our mental health. Despite good progress in addressing the stigma over the last decade, it’s still a big challenge and there’s a long way to go – especially in the workplace. This is a culture issue and a leadership issue.
It’s also a confidence issue. In my role as an instructor and ambassador for Mental Health First Aid England, I have seen the remarkable difference some knowledge, information and a simple framework or two makes to how confident people are in starting a conversation about how they are feeling and coping with life.
My debut book was published at the beginning of this year, called Own Your Awkward: How to have better and braver conversations about our mental health. I wrote it because I could see and feel the impact the pandemic was having on an already worrying mental health crisis. I wanted to pour all I have learned about looking after and talking about our mental health into something that could reach lots of people. It’s a combination of sharing the story of my lived experience of burnout and mental illness, as a business leader, entrepreneur, mother and, well, general human being, as well as other people’s stories, combined with information and frameworks.
There’s not one solution for looking after our mental health – there’s an effort required and many moving parts that need to be working and aligned. It’s not impossible though, and from a workplace point of view there are so many business benefits to be had by placing mental health at the very core of your business plan and culture. It should never be a nice-to-have or a box-ticking exercise – there’s no point.
A book gives reach, but I want to do more in reaching people who need help. So, about four weeks ago, Richard McHardy and I dreamed up a way to do our bit to help make mental health an easier and more everyday conversation... a Guinness World Record attempt for the biggest online mental health lesson ever.
The theme of Mental Health Awareness Week is loneliness, so what better way to kickstart the week and start talking about the topic than many people coming together to learn a little more, and to feel a sense of ‘we’ rather than just ‘me’? And, heck, if we can have a bit of fun and break a record along the way, how great?
So, today at 11am, when our online lesson commences, join us and some brilliant people helping deliver the lesson, including a special five minutes of funny from the brilliant comedian Jarred Christmas recorded for us live from The Comedy Store to reward and entertain us after the lesson.
We can’t solve this problem overnight, but we can get together, improve our skills and confidence and remember that really, to start a conversation about mental health, we need to lead with compassion – and pretty much most of us have that already. We need you.
Michelle Morgan is author of Own Your Awkward: How to have better and braver conversations about our mental health, ambassador for MHFA England, founder of Pjoys and co-founder of Livity.