Go slow to go fast

The importance of early intervention for mental health with Shaun Davis

Mental health problems affect both men and women, in fact, one in four people will experience a mental health problem of some kind each year.

However, it has been widely accepted for some time that men are much less likely to seek help from a doctor or mental health specialist, as they traditionally find it difficult to admit that they are feeling fragile and vulnerable.

Click here to watch Shaun Davis, our director for compliance and sustainability, who was a special guest on the Everymind at Work podcast, talk about a range of issues, including the need for workplace health and wellbeing ambassadors, peer-to-peer coaching and reverse mentoring.

‘Early intervention is crucial to prevent mental health issues from developing,’ said Shaun. ‘I’m a school governor and I see many mental health-related issues playing out in very small primary school, nursery and reception class children.

‘I think that if you could help people to understand anxiety and elements of depression, it would help them when they get older with things like financial health, physical health, spiritual health. We should be doing a lot more in terms of combatting mental health issues, early on.’

In the podcast, Shaun stresses how mental health is ‘a continuum not a destination,’ and why it is important to focus on other areas of your life to improve your mental clarity. Diet, food, sleep, exercise and finding something that connects with you spiritually are all vital elements he says towards ensuring positive mental wellbeing. He also emphasises how anxiety can be a tool for growth.

‘We certainly shouldn’t take away from the fact that people feel anxious and depressed,’ he said. ‘But neither should we wrap people in cotton wool, so they don’t develop coping mechanisms and strategies for managing things.

‘The traditional masculine, real men don’t cry, stiff upper lip mentality has softened over the last few years and I think more people will now disclose whether they have a mental health condition and talk more openly about their mental health than they would have done perhaps four or five years ago. But saying that, it’s certainly not fixed.’

Shaun’s first book, Positive Male Mind provides practical help, guidance and solutions to help men deal with life challenges, anxiety, depression, bereavements, relationship breakdown, difficulties at work, personal identity issues and the many other issues that may occur, but they are perhaps too afraid to admit.

Support is available

We understand that there is an increase in concern and anxiety. If you or a member of your team would like to speak to a counsellor, they can contact First Class Support available 24/7 to provide emotional (not medical) support on 0800 6888 777.

A selection of chapters from Positive Mental Health, Shaun’s second book written together with Andrew Kinder, are available here to help you manage a range of mental health problems.

Click here to see the full range of mental health support available to you.

Please note, the interview was filmed before the arrival of coronavirus and the need for social distancing.

10 Jul 2020