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Inspirited Minds was invited to be apart of a panel of amazing speakers at Deloitte for their event about thriving at work where about 50 people attended in person whilst many more attended online. I was given the opportunity to speak about my passion for addressing the stigma of mental health and my personal story into mental health. I then participated in Q&A session with other panel members where there were several questions from the staff at Deloitte about mental health and coping at work.

There were interesting questions asked, such as “how do you know when anxiety is getting unhealthy?” “How do you navigate a system where there may be a lot of pressure?” “How do you take care of yourself?”

The attendees were really receptive. Participating in the event really made me wonder that mental health needs more emphasis on every aspect of our lives, especially at work. It also made me reflect on how work can be a huge factor contributing to our mental health. This can be from the pressures of workload and responsibility, feeling stressed, anxious or even having a ‘bad’ day where stuff going on outside of work can have an impact on our personal lives. On the other hand, work can also help us to feel a sense of achievement and mastery, give us a purpose and value and also enrich our lives. It’s helped me understand that not everyone appreciates having a ‘bad’ or ‘off’ day and that we are all entitled to have these days and feel what we feel. I’ve observed that workplaces and cooperate companies are doing more to identify and address mental health needs with their colleagues. So I’d like to thank Deloitte for raising awareness about mental health within their workforce and also inviting panel members from diverse backgrounds to share the importance of ‘mental health not discriminating’.

Some facts in relation to the Black, Asian & Ethnic minority community (BAME) that was raised on the day, emphasised that those who identify as BAME, take longer to seek professional help and when they do, they are at a point of crisis. This is something for all of us to reflect on and us to help improve access to mental health support for our community members so that they can access it earlier before it gets really serious.

Top tips for organisations working with Muslims:  

  • Appreciate that the culture adopted at work, maybe similar or different to the culture they have outside of work/ at home (i.e. offering a prayer space)
  • Encourage discussions about differences and culture and receive the information non-judgmentally and curiously
  • Cater to the needs of the individual (i.e. starting later or taking time off during Ramadan)

Feedback by attendees:

“Thank you for sharing your personal story – I know it is really difficult sometimes to share such sensitive matters with others so we really appreciate you sharing this with us. It was very impactful and inspirational.”

“Your talk was amazing and many people communicated to me how impactful it was…. thank you so much!!!”

If you would like to get involved in raising awareness about mental health in your local community, we are looking to grow our Outreach Team to different cities around the country. We will ensure that you are fully trained and confident before running workshops and talks. Please visit our vacancies page for more information.

Farhana Maleque

Farhana is a psychology graduate from Sussex University and currently undertaking motivational interviewing training. She works as an assistant psychologist in an inpatient psychiatric hospital in the NHS. She’s actively involved in running psychological groups like mindfulness, wellbeing, recovery and self compassion, as well as working with peer support workers (individuals with lived experience) to run co-produced training and workshops for staff and the community. She is also working as a research assistant in a number of service development projects. Her special interests lie in developing ones self-awareness and self compassion. She is also motivated in normalizing and reframing people’s view on different mental health difficulties by exploring and understanding a range of contributing factors. These include relationships, childhood experiences, life events, stressors and others. Farhana is passionate about working and learning from those with lived experience and carers, and help empower them to look at themselves and others as humans, steering away from labels to recognize and appreciate their unique set of skills, values, hopes and dreams. Through the work with Inspirited Minds, she is eager to reach out to everyone, specifically individuals from black, ethnic minority backgrounds, the Muslim community, young people, and those who are experiencing or have experienced social injustice, so we can start valuing and openly talk about our mental health like we do with our physical health when we go to the doctors.

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