Dogged by nut’ la­bel

The People - - NEWS FEATURES & -

MANY things put me in the mood for lurve – the waft of a cer­tainain af­ter­shave, the scent of red roses or the crack­ling of a roar­ing open­pen fire. Oh, the mem­o­ries! But I can’t say I’ve ever bee­neen turned on by a conker or a Bour­bon fin­ger. Yet a new sur­vey of our“most most ro­man­tic smells” shows thee hum­ble horse ch­est­nut is, to some folk,olk, the ol­fac­tory equiv­a­lent of Vi­a­gra, while oth­ers get friskysky at the whiff of a bic­cie. Cog­ni­tive neu­ro­sci­en­tists s say smell plays a pow­er­ful role in physic phys­i­cal at­trac­tion be­cause “when we in­halein a scent, it goes to the ol­fact ol­fac­tory re­cep­tor cells at the top of ou our nose then trav­els to the brain brain’s lim­bic sys­tem which con­trolscontr mem­ory, emo­tion and mood re­sult­ing in chem­i­cal and phys phys­i­cal stim­u­la­tion.” Ok,Ok that ex­plains the sci­ence. ButBu I still have no idea how conker­sco drive you bonkers – or howh bis­cuits make you fancy a nib­ble.n An­swersA on a post­card, please. WIN­STON Churc Churchill used to call his de­pres­sion ““the black dog”. I learned that 13 years ago from a col­league help­ing m me talk about my own men­tal health. Be­cause a black dogd had been stalk­ing me for years – grow growl­ing in the dis­tance, a men­ac­ing pres­enc pres­ence I was too afraid to con­front. Even­tu­ally it pou pounced, knock­ing me flat and sink­ing its claws in un­til I had to call for help. It was clinic clin­i­cal de­pres­sion and I needed to go into hos­pi­tal for a while. But I had t to ask a friend to tell my boss be­cause I w was too ashamed. I had failed. I was go­ing to get sacked. My suc­cess­ful 20 20-year ca­reer would count for noth­ing on once they re­alised I was a sham – a pa­thetic, un­re­li­able, nut-job. I felt so worth­less I was ac­tu­ally hang­ing on to that black do dog’s col­lar, of­fer­ing it my throat as d doc­tors tried to help me ki kick it off. Eve Even­tu­ally I let go. And once it had skulked away I re­alise­drea I hadn’t failed, I’d ju just been ill. A And I wasn’t go­ing to lose my job be­cause my em­ploy em­ploy­ers un­der­stood. One bo boss shared his own ex­pe­ri­ence an and helped me to talk while other colle col­leagues were hugely sup­port­ive. But I was re­ally lucky. Be­cause, 13 years on, a shock­ing re­port has re­vealed thou­sands of em­ploy­ees HAVE lost their jobs af­ter dis­clos­ing their men­tal health is­sues at work.

Re­search for char­ity Busi­ness in the Com­mu­nity found 1.2 mil­lion work­ers faced de­mo­tion, dis­ci­plinary ac­tion or dis­missal af­ter open­ing up.

Sixty per cent of UK em­ploy­ees have ex­pe­ri­enced stress, anx­i­ety or de­pres­sion. And while 53 per cent feel com­fort­able talk­ing about men­tal health at work, 15 per cent have been pe­nalised for do­ing so. Their bosses should be ashamed.

Em­ploy­ers know they are re­spon­si­ble for staff well­be­ing yet just 24 per cent of line man­agers have re­ceived train­ing in men­tal health is­sues – train­ing they would wel­come.

Why aren’t firms pro­vid­ing that at the same time as phys­i­cal first aid train­ing?

BITC’s Louise As­ton says: “It’s time to chal­lenge the myth that hav­ing a men­tal health is­sue equates to poor per­for­mance” and equip man­agers with the skills to help staff stay in work thrive.

My bosses did that for me 13 years ago and, while the black dog has nipped my heels once or twice since, I now know I can get help fight­ing it off.

Em­ploy­ers MUST take the lead to shift work­place at­ti­tudes – and stop hound­ing sick staff out of their jobs.

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