Beyond ‘toughing it out’: Mental health in the social change workplace

The applause at the conference was enthusiastic, and the ambiance, reflective. Hands shot up in the air with question after question:

“Can you say more about how it felt when you were depressed?”

“What can we do if our CEO is not supportive of employee well-being?”

“My friend has bipolar, how can I support him?”

I (Enoch) gladly and patiently answered them. On the outside, I looked poised, having just shared my lived experience from depression and suicide attempts to founding my social impact consulting company, Bearapy, to improve workplace mental health in the Asia-Pacific region. Inside, I could feel myself disintegrating. I knew my energy was depleting, and I had been met with rejection after rejection from potential clients because they did not have the “budget” for mental well-being initiatives. I was full of doubt, and wondered if leaving my career as a corporate banker to become a social entrepreneur was a wise choice.

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