• Eimear Stassin

Are You Working Like a Dung Beetle?

“We’re like dung beetles, rolling balls of dung uphill – when it rolls back down the hill, off they go again, rolling it back up the hill!”

I went to see Ruby Wax a number of years ago in her show called 'Sane New World'. She was very funny.  I was inspired by how she has created a comedy act out of her very own self - her mental health.  Her aim - to get the topic of mental health out into the open.  She piloted her show in the Psychiatric hospital where she was a patient.  She's a courageous lady in my opinion.

"Are you behaving like a dung beetle?" Ruby Wax

Well are you?  Rolling the same pile of shite uphill whilst wrapped up in the cult of busyness? Do you recognise this within yourself?  Within your colleagues? I know I have at various times in my career.   

Many people and charities are doing great work involving sharing of stories, passing the badge, walking a mile, all to re-awaken the empathy, understanding and trust that lies within us all.  Mental health is a topic we can talk openly about, the same as physical health, without having to be any kind of expert. 

“If you think you're too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito” Anita Roddick

Around the same time as Ruby's show, I became interested in how to develop a mentally healthy workplace. I realized how leadership plays a major role. I set about researching how to increase awareness to the power and potential of positive mental wellbeing within organisations. Because we all have mental health. So let’s talk about it.

What if I could do something about raising awareness of mental health in the workplace? What if I could make a difference in some way?

The resultant workshop that I moulded (with a little help from my friends), continues to raise awareness by exploring topics and questions such as;

  • Mental health - we all have mental health which ebbs and flows throughout our life and work.

  • The impact of events in our life and continuous organisational changes have on our mental health and the mental health of our teams.

  • Our map of the world is our unique map. How does our map contribute to the stigma that exists in relation to mental health?

  • Stress / pressure / performance – is there a relationship?

This is not the time to sit on the side-lines.

It's now or never.  Lets tackle mental health in the workplace together.  Even the smallest action, such as asking someone ‘are you okay?’ and most importantly, holding space for whatever their response is, is enough. We can all help end the stigma attached to mental health in the workplace and provide the best support to ourselves and our colleagues. Lead by example.

"1 in 5 people have dandruff.  1 in 4 people mental health problems." Ruby Wax

It was refreshing, enlightening and powerful to hear Ruby speak so openly about her life with depression and how Mindfulness has helped her specifically. But, here’s the thing:

"We need to learn how to turn off our digital hardware just sometimes to cool down our brains or our software (us) is going to burn out."

Just slow down a little bit in order to cool down.  Know that you don't have to be busy all of the time.  Know that you can "create a clearing within the dense forest of your life" (M. Postlewaite). Today.  I now notice more people speaking up and sharing their stories around mental health by just being themselves. 

“Eimear, thank you for helping me to get my wings back when I’d forgotten how to fly”. Feedback

I enjoy bringing this deep subject of mental health to life.  I continuously learn how resilient and strong people truly are.  Let's fly together and continue raising awareness, one step at a time.  Contact me to talk more about my workshop Developing a Mentally Healthy Workplace

And, while I still have your attention...

The Mental Health at Work Report 2017 published its findings today.  The report finds that; 

  • 15% of employees who disclose mental ill health issues subsequently face disciplinary action, demotion or dismissal, compared to 9% in 2016

  • 60% of employees have experienced work-related mental health issues in the past year  

  • 11% of people feel able to disclose a mental health issue to their line manager 

  • Managers would welcome training on mental health  

  • 84% of employers acknowledge that they have a responsibility towards their employee's mental wellbeing

  • 91% of managers agreeing that what they do affects the wellbeing of their staff

  • Only 24% of managers have received training in mental health

Contact me about my taster session with Jasmine Gartner on 23rd November in Edinburgh.

Contact me to talk more about my workshop Developing a Mentally Healthy Workplace. 

follow the dung beetle wisdom.

you can make a difference.

take action today.

Yours mindfully,


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