“Speaking up about your mental health is daunting but the reality is most of us experience anxiety at some point in our lives. It's a normal and understandable response to stressful situations or trauma.”

Emma Watson is the Divisional Lead Pharmacist for Surgical and Anaesthetic Services and Family Care at ELHT.  She has opened up about her struggles with anxiety to encourage other people to do the same and get the support they need.

She said:

I have always had an instilled emphasis of working hard and my job requires a strong commitment to patient care but when I lost a friend of mine my coping mechanisms to carry on as normal failed.

Emma WatsonI had a bit of a break down and my anxiety came to a head. Unable to function at work, I took time off and it forced me to take stock of how some of my behaviours and attitudes around work ethics and achievements were sometimes damaging for my mental health.

On my return I had incredible support from the Trust and Chaplain David Anderson, and the team at the Spiritual Centre were fantastic. Being able to tap into that when you are feeling anxious was a life saver for me.

Now I try not to beat myself up about things that go wrong or overanalyse challenging situations. I acknowledge that I am human, I'm not going to get everything right and all I can do is learn from things and move forward in a self-compassionate way.

To anyone suffering alone, please speak to someone and share your feelings. Your line manager can offer a range of different support services or speak to a family member - it feels liberating just to share. Try and talk to yourself as you would a best friend. Self-compassion takes practice, but it does help! 

ELHT is committed to breaking down the barriers to talking about mental health. There is a strong culture of inclusivity here and in order to provide the best service possible to our patients, it is important that we bring our authentic and best selves into our workplace. Having the opportunity to talk through our mental struggles with colleagues and support services ensures we not only enjoy coming to work but can thrive in our roles and support each other.

Hear more from Emma on the ELHT podcast by searching for ELHT Audio.