Paving the way: Improving mental health awareness in the workplace
Grant Everett, Assistant Publications Officer of Panorama Magazine
Grant Everett is a published author, and has worked for the past three years as a full-time co-writer and designer at Panorama Magazine, a publication dedicated to helping people on their mental health recovery journey.
The magazine is created by people who are dealing with mental health issues, and prides itself on having a practical approach towards recovery that is grounded in experience.
Grant lives with schizophrenia, and has previously spent many years in a long-term mental health ward. Working tirelessly at his recovery and with the goal of living once more out in society, Grant now does exactly that, with his wife.
“It took me a long time to get to this place, but my schizophrenia is well and truly under control, and has been for a few years. Medication has been a big help, but I have also been determined to do everything I can on my own to aid my recovery,” says Grant.
Grant’s job at Panorama requires him to take on a number of roles, and in any given day he will interview case studies, conduct research, take photos and provide graphic design for each piece - all before he even gets down to the writing.
“I love writing, and generally speaking it’s a field that it’s hard to make a living out of. I’m lucky to be in a position where I can follow my passion and still make enough money to live off.
“I’d say what I enjoy the most is helping others who are in the same boat as I once was. It’s very rewarding, and we’re in a position where people can reach out to us and we can actually make a difference to their life,” Grant explains.
Grant says self-talk and assertion, skills he has honed over the years, defeat anxiety when it rears its head from time to time.
There are measures in place at his work to support him and his colleagues with their mental health. Of the 2000 employees under Panorama’s parent organisation, Flourish, more than half have a diagnosed mental health condition and are encouraged to share their stories with each other.
When it comes to raising of mental health in the workplace, JobAccess provides a range of courses to educate staff on disability issues. Mental Health First Aid provides the knowledge and skills to support an employee who may have a mental health issue or episode at work.
“Awareness of mental health is definitely improving, but it is still far from perfect. We need to address the tyranny of low expectations that those who have a mental illness inflict on themselves. Having something like schizophrenia does not mean we can’t work, and this needs to be understood - by everyone.”
Job Access also provides information on understanding mental health in the workplace, discussing how managers can handle it, the signs to look out for when it comes to high levels of stress in themselves and their co-workers, and the factors that lead to this stress.
“I think it’s really important for workplaces to foster inclusion amongst its employees. It affirms that businesses truly care about the community in which they operate, and are committed to reflecting its diversity. From an internal perspective, the company learns about people living with disability, and the importance of providing them with the same opportunities as everyone else,” Grant finishes.
Grant is currently in the midst of a 3-book deal. Look out for his sci-fi comedy works, “Scum of the Universe” , published as an ebook, along with “Totally, Utterly Screwed” and “Where Did All The Humans Go?” next in the pipeline.
You can read his first book on Smashwords.