Mental Illness Awareness Week is October 7-13. It’s a condition that affects a person’s thinking, feeling, or mood which may impact their ability to relate to others and function each day. That could be any of us on a given day! According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in 5 Americans is affected by mental health conditions, and one in 17 lives with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.
Some signs that a person may be struggling with a mental illness include:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Loss of interest in work and/or socializing with coworkers
Have you ever experienced any of the above? Of course! Yet, there is often a stigma associated when someone is diagnosed with a mental illness.
At Smashing Boxes we are particularly aware and involved with the issue. A 2017 survey of 3,715 members of MENSA published in the journal Intelligence reveals a startling linkage between intelligence and illness.
As a successful developer shared years ago, “Software development is a good place for people with depression and bipolar. It accepts the socially isolated. It accommodates irregular sleep patterns and inconsistent bursts of productivity. It seeks those with the grandiosity to believe that they can solve problems others can’t, and exalts the ones crazy enough to believe that they can change the world.”
A big myth around mental illness is that sufferers lack intelligence. In reality, intelligence has nothing to do with mental illnesses or brain disorders. In fact, often times the intelligent are most at risk. Inc Magazine reported that more than a quarter (26.7 percent) of the Mensa respondents said they had been formally diagnosed with a mood disorder, while 20 percent reported an anxiety disorder –far higher than the national averages of about 10 percent for each, writes Scientific American.
Anxiety disorders, mood disorders, personality disorders, addiction disorders and impulse control disorders are different categories of very different mental illnesses; but all are a variation on the theme of brain chemistry gone awry. As scientists continue to investigate the brains of people who have mental illnesses, they are learning that mental illness is associated with changes in the brain’s structure, chemistry, and function and that mental illness does indeed have a biological basis.
We know more today than we ever have about the cause and effect mental illness has on our brains, our abilities to function, and our hope for the future.
Smashing Boxes cares about the health and well-being of its employees and their families, and recognizes that a variety of personal problems can disrupt their personal and work lives. And mental illness is at the forefront of ways that we provide help and support to our team. We start with an open mind and a non-judgmental approach. We offer many tools, including something many business offer called an Employee Assistance Program (EAP).
Through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), Smashing Boxes provides confidential access to professional counseling services for help in confronting such personal problems as achieving life balance, stress and anxiety, alcohol and other substance abuse, marital and family difficulties, financial or legal troubles, and child/elder care resources. The EAP is available to all eligible team members and members of their household, and it offers problem assessment, short-term counseling and referrals to appropriate community and private services. This service is provided on behalf of Smashing Boxes by MetLife/E4.
We constantly offer and promote a flexible work schedule including working from home and varying in office hours, generous leave policies, weekly yoga sessions, mindfulness, and a focus on a work-life balance.
For more information on mental illness, visit www.NAMI.org.