The Importance of Conversations on Mental Health
Mental health is an essential component of our daily lives. Yet, it is still overlooked and stigmatized in society. Many individuals are afraid to seek help or speak up about their struggles with mental illness due to the fear of judgment and discrimination. Those struggles can come from diverse places, not only from the professional scenario: experiences from family, friends, and colleagues can also be a source of worry and distress, and learning how to have those conversations can be a powerful tool.
An issue that hits home
Mental health conversations are important, not only in professional settings but also on a personal level. Sometimes these issues do not affect us directly, but those close to us, creating ripple waves. That's the case of Karen and Chuck Bennett, REALTORS® and long-time residents of Nelson, BC. Their youngest daughter's recent diagnosis of borderline personality disorder prompted them to become more open about their struggles in facing the reality of this issue.
"It can feel lonely when you start living with someone with a mental illness. While understanding the diagnosis, we shared our story and discovered that others are going through similar experiences," Chuck explained. The Bennetts aim to end the stigma surrounding mental health in their community and have organized "Start the Conversation," an event to provide students and the community with the opportunity to learn more about mental health and where to find support.
The efforts to bring the topic to the table and make it more acceptable also happen in their professional sphere, "many of the conversations with our team are based on a simple question: How are you really doing? Making mental health a regular topic in our daily conversations is crucial. For many people, it's their kids or someone else they care about who is struggling, and we include it like any other important topic in our meetings to manage our business. At the same time, we are honest with our clients about the times we struggle. So far, everyone has been caring and very understanding. It hurts businesses to hide it more than to show it," Karen explained.
As real estate professionals, starting those conversations can generate some amazing processes and results:
- Reduces stigma around these issues and generates empathy and connection on a more personal level.
- Fosters team support by opening safe spaces to find help from peers and managers.
- Elevates client relationships. REALTORS® are often able to help clients with significant life changes, such as buying or selling a home. Understanding mental health can help empathize with clients' struggles and provide more compassionate and effective support.
- Impacts performance. Regular discussions about mental health can help REALTORS® identify and address issues impacting their work.
Building a more compassionate community can help create a better future and meaningful connections to improve business and relationships.
BCREA Managing Brokers' Community of Practice
Join us on Wednesday, May 10, at 10:00 am PST for the Managing Broker Community of Practice, where Josh Rosenberg, Chuck Bennett, and Karen Bennett will speak about mental health in real estate. Featuring strong advocates for mental health awareness in the demanding real estate profession, this session will provide more awareness of some mental health-related topics and resources Managing Brokers, and REALTORS® may find helpful in navigating various mental health challenges.
Register for this session here (BCREA Access Login required).
The "Start the Conversation" Event
This in-person event will take place on Tuesday, May 9, 2023, in Nelson, BC, in partnership with LV Rogers Secondary School and School District #8. The event features Victoria Maxwell, an award-winning keynote speaker who will encourage those who need help to start conversations with loved ones or professionals. The event will also raise funds for mental health initiatives at the school and the LVR Girls Soccer Team. If you can't attend the event, you can also purchase tickets as donations and let the organizers know so they can share them with other community members. Get your tickets here.
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