Work And Mental Health

 In Health

As I observe the current mental health epidemic, I find myself disagreeing with those who feel a need to stop work. For certain, they see work as the problem and not the solution. My experience was the opposite, work and mental health are good bedfellows. As a 15 year kid I suspect I had a mental health issue. This was combination of poverty and a violent stepfather. However, work was my saviour. Some money in my pocket, a new drop handlebar Viking racing bike and my life took a new turn. Escape, the means to get away from from a claustrophobic home, was so uplifting. Cycling out into the sunshine, to Ratlinghope and over the Long Mynd in Shropshire. What could be better?


I worked as a horticultural trainee and it was hard, often cold work and very poor money. After all, I was a penniless kid from a council house estate, a no-hoper, as they say. Whatever, it was a constructive life, growing plants and being able to give money to my mother. Within a few years, my brother and then my sister was working and the entire family was on the rise. Bluntly, we never looked back. Even now, I still miss work, principally the feedback and the people I worked with. Nothing beats a few compliments, a feeling that you are part of a team working for society.

Work and mental health

I am, as always, obviously not in touch with modern life. Mental health is reliant on being relaxed, finding pleasure in the world. This usually needs people, both to support you and keep your life in perspective. Nothing is worse that looking inwards and getting into a depressive downward mood. That is how I felt as a kid. That the abuse and fear, mainly the return of my stepfather from work, would never end. Even the cat shook with fear when Ted arrived, and the cat had 9 lives! The abuse did end and life got better. However, work can help, no matter what work it is. That is especially true because few of us can live without earning. Look at work as a lifesaver, a way to a better future.

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