By: Natasha Archary
This week on your Mental Health Check-In on Midday Joy with Unathi, Clinical Psychologist, Anele Siswana talks Active Allyship.
Prioritising your wellbeing can be tough when you don’t have a good support structure both in and out of the workplace.
A mental health ally stands up for colleagues who might be experiencing, stress, anxiety or depression.
According to Anele Siswana, Active Allyship is the act of standing up for and supporting an underrepresented group.
A clear example of this is Unathi’s consistent work within the LGBTIQ+ community is raising awareness about the stigma and discrimination that is a daily battle. That is a nutshell is what it means to be an ally.
As an ally, you stand up for people who are being discriminated against or those who are not coping mentally. It’s not about being sympathetic, it’s about being empathetic and present.
Active Allyship and mental health
Think about it this way, if a co-worker has a broken hand or sprained leg, many would offer assistance or be courteous towards them.
Now, imagine that there’s a co-worker who is struggling to make it through the day because they are dealing with depression. Telling someone to snap out of their “negative mindset” while depressed or stressed, is telling them to grow another limb.
As mentioned a previous conversation with pharmacist Brent Murphy, depression, stress and anxiety is when there are physical changes in your brain.
This is the environment that is created around people with mental health issues. Many are not sure how to receive people with depression, anxiety or stress.
Siswana stresses that “it’s for this reason that more people should become mental health allies.”
Listen to the full conversation on Active Allyship with Anele Siswana on Midday Joy:
If you want to be a good mental health ally but are not sure how, here are 5 things you can do:
- Empathise and listen without judgement
- Read up more about mental health
- Be mindful of your language
- Know your boundaries
- Don’t pry, wait for people to open up to you