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Owen Lahav

Degree:

MBA

Location:

Canada

Industry:

Technology

Year:

2018-19

By Owen Lahav

Mental health in the workplace

On 7th June, as part of the Oxford MBA programme, I and 9 other students had the opportunity to attend a session titled “Mental Health in the Workplace – Skills for Managers”, run by Dr. Michael Gill of Saïd Business School, and clinical psychologists Dr. June Dent and Dr. Helen Kennerley.

The session sparked discussion on some important ideas; the financial impacts of the mental health stigma, when, how, and why to properly approach conversations in the workplace, and cultural considerations. We also engaged in an effective case/roleplay activity that highlighted how mental illness truly impacts management – often not in dramatic, glaring breakdowns but in subtle ways that affect productivity, derail projects, and hurt human beings.

These topics spoke to me on a personal level.

#mentalhealth is one of the most important things we as humans possess. And we have to take care of it – just like our physical health. If I ever want to become a senior-level manager who directs employees and develops people, this is something I need to think about. We all do.

I was extremely encouraged that Oxford Saïd offered such an important and illuminating session – and hope that in upcoming years more future-managers will engage on the topic, particularly men, as I was the only male in attendance on this occasion.

Mental illness affects 1 in 4 both in the UK and globally, men and women alike. The costs – economic, social, and human – are devastating. Yet we don’t talk about this nearly enough. And men are far less likely to speak up than women – I know this from experience. The stigma is real, and it’s time we start to overcome it.

I struggle with my own mental health at times, but that doesn’t make me a poor student, worker, or manager, it doesn’t make me less of a human, and it doesn’t make me any less of a man.

I’d like to thank SBS and Dr. Gill for the session – it got me to think about how to be a better manager and a better me, supporting others in a honest and effective ways. Most critically, it started a discussion.

Now it’s up to us. Let’s keep talking.

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