Vanessa Say is a Senior Account Manager at the Havas Lynx Group. Earlier this year, Vanessa attended a D&AD writing course where she wrote a piece on anxiety and the affect it has on human health. As part of World Mental Health Day 2018, Vanessa has shared this blog with us to raise awareness of the importance of facing our anxiety monsters together.

Take a second to imagine this.

You’re in the midst of a casual ponder about whether or not you deserve that bacon butty for breakfast, because… well, it’s Friday. When, all of a sudden, that red-hot, gasp-out-loud, actually hurts-a-bit panic washes over you. You’ve left the iron on and at this very moment, envision all of your possessions engulfed in an aggressive fireball, along with your neighbour’s cat.

Now what if that sudden, flummoxing terror lived just under the surface, all of the time.

Unlike one of those swear-out-loud, ‘in the future, this might be amusing’ scenarios above; anxiety is endured painfully, by more than 3 million people in the UK alone. Residing in our mental basements, this hidden monster steals our confidence – at work and in our social lives. Screaming inaudibly, that we’re just not good enough.

The problem is, that for the millions suffering, they’ve learnt how to worry so well, so intensely, about so many things, that keeping their heads down and their lips pursed can feel like the only way to stay afloat.

But staying silent is what lets this monster grow. And it’s just the same for chronic stress and depression. That’s probably why more than 12 million sick days are needed for these conditions every year. Because people keep going, until they just can’t.

1 in every 4 people will experience some form of mental health condition in their lives. So it’s important to know that it can get better, that we are not slaves to our thoughts and ‘inner demons’ are not fixed flaws in character.

In fact, our monsters may even be a sign of our strengths – a number of studies suggest a link between creativity and mental health; the more creative we are, the more vulnerable we are to mental health challenges.

It’s quite likely then, that here at Lynx, we have more sufferers than the average agency.

That’s why, we believe it’s our responsibility to do everything we can to support mental health and wellness for everyone who works here. This year, we’ve set up a team of Wellness Champions from different areas around the business and are trialling initiatives from management training and meditation sessions, to exercise classes and mental health apps.

And there’s plenty more that can be done for anyone who might be struggling.

On this World Mental Health Day our ask is this; the best way to stop worrying about being worried, to pull yourself out of a dark time, or find a solution to unbearable stress, is to speak up and seek help.

It’s time to face that monster, together.

#WorldMentalHealthDay