World Mental Health Day: Fighting the hidden monster

Madrid / 10 October 2021

Mental health is comprised of our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It can affect everything; from the way we think and feel to the way we behave. It is so important that we begin to prioritise our mental health just as much as we do our psychical. Checking in with yourself to see how you are coping, creating a work-life balance that makes you happy and not overwhelmed with stress are all very important and could massively positively impact your well-being.
Corporate Affairs Department
On World Mental Health Day, we want to raise awareness of mental health as we strive to create a better working environment everyone. One of the most common and severe mental health problems is depression. We caught up with one of our colleagues Ivan, who shed light on his own battle with depression and how seeking help and opening up led to his recovery.
Ivan's story
One of the most common and severe mental health problems is depression. Roughly 280 million people worldwide suffer from it, and  5% of adults are affected. While most of us are familiar with sadness and experience down days from time to time, depression goes beyond this. It is a severe medical condition that can cause a wide array of physical and emotional problems.
Ivan Romo, Siemens Gamesa Service Sales Process Specialist from Spain, courageously spoke up about his struggles with depression, how it manifested, and how he eventually reached out for help and recovered.

"Depression is difficult to manage. The first reaction you have is denial: I am not depressed; I just have a problem.' But if we had a back problem, we would go to our manager and tell him that we need to have physiotherapy. It should be the same with mental health."
Ivan explained that his depression caused a severe lack of motivation that left him unable to get out of bed. Everyday events transformed into overwhelming obstacles that he could not manage. On top of this, he also experienced physical symptoms of depression.

"I couldn't cope with myself anymore. I was tired all the time, and I didn't even feel like doing nice things, like going for a walk with my wife or playing with my daughter. When everything feels like a burden or a problem, and you can't find a solution for anything, you see yourself as an obstacle," Ivan explained. "If you can't make the people, you love happy. This feeling of seeing oneself as useless, as unnecessary, leads to the thought, 'There's no reason to go on living.'"

Ivan went on to shed light on what caused him to reach out for help. "I was riding my bike, and I stopped near a river to take a break. By the river ... it's hard to explain, but I had the feeling that the river was telling me that it could be my solution, that all the burden I was carrying was going to be solved. I just had to dive in. That's when I became aware that the situation was critical." Ivan eventually reached out for help from a licensed professional, which was not easy due to widespread stigmatism.

Those who suffer from depression need professional help to recover, as clinical depression is a severe disorder that demands medical and psychological attention. Despite this, it is treatable, and both psychotherapy and medication can relieve symptoms.

In Ivan's case, reaching out for help led to his recovery. "It was a whole year dedicated exclusively to me. The first two months in a psychiatric clinic and then a personal period." What also helped his recovery was the treatment he received from Siemens Gamesa.
The company not only gave me the time I needed but also took away my fears. I was worried that I might be stigmatized and not trusted to perform my tasks in the future professionally, and the response was the opposite – to help me, to give me time, to accommodate me...
Iván Romo Arbide, Process Specialist at Siemens Gamesa
Facing mental health: providing better support for employees
In order to promote a healthy working environment for all employees, Siemens Gamesa are establishing a Mental Health Scientific Advisory Board. The purpose of this advisory council is to provide the company with adequate scientific knowledge to ensure better mental health care and support for the company. The initiative has been implemented so that Siemens Gamesa is constantly up-to-date on the promotion and care of mental health and it will help bridge the gap between current policies and the academic world. The advisory board is comprised of experts with diverse backgrounds ranging across psychiatry, pharmacology, psychology, and more.
Siemens Gamesa urges struggling employees to reach out to the psychological support services available in one's specific region. It is highly recommended that those suffering ask for psychological help. We must keep the conversation going so we can continue to destigmatize mental health. Opening the conversation can help people feel safe to share their stories and help others. On today of all days, it's essential to reflect on our mental health, and make sure we are aware of the varied ways mental health issues can manifest.

See the National Institute of Mental Health for more information about mental health issues and the available resources.


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