Yes, you can talk about mental health at work - Book Review
Yes, you can talk about mental health at work: Here’s why (and how to do it really well)
Doman, M. (2021). London: Welbeck Balance
I’ll get straight to the crux of why this excellent and informative publication stands out from the crowd: Doman gives her reader – whether they be an employee or a leader – the right tools to take action (and to act with due care and confidence)!
Peer publications often cover the ‘why’ of having mental health conversations at work, and don’t get me wrong - understanding the ‘why’ is very important for the very reasons Doman empathetically outlines for us, but few that I have read adequately cover the ‘how to’ as well.
In my role as a workplace trainer, facilitator, and coach specialising in having important, difficult conversations, it’s the ‘how to’ questions that come up most often: How do I build up my confidence? How do I prepare myself? How do I start the conversation? How do I respond if I get triggered? How do I respond if I don’t receive an empathetic or constructive response? How do I respond if my confidence is betrayed by someone I have put my trust in?
In the second half of her book Doman answers these ‘how to’ questions one at a time. She provides practical strategies along with delivery and response examples that are both assertive and empowering and really hit the mark for me. Some New Zealanders may find Doman’s sample responses a little too direct for their comfort, however, I recommend a closer look – her responses are the perfect combination of being direct but also non-accusatory.
I only wish Doman hadn’t put the ‘how to’ in brackets in her book title, as if it were a sub-theme. To me this is where she really breaks new ground in the publishing world and I believe it should have equal standing in the title to the ‘why’.
In summary, Doman’s intensely practical guide, which spans industries and roles, will suitably support both individuals and leaders to grow their confidence to have important mental health conversations at work and sit comfortably with the discomfort these conversations may trigger. Highly recommended.
Reviewed by Robyn Hill, Difficult Conversations Trainer, Facilitator and Coach, Accredited Mediator, and Director of Courageous Conversations NZ.