Mental Health in Engineering

In this section of my blog I’m going to talk about the various tips and tricks I’ve picked up to manage a range of challenging scenarios, from dealing with a 100 mile daily commute to contending with imposter syndrome. This is something I’m going to continually add to as I think it’s a really important subject and the advice I have received over the years has really helped me.

I will be sharing advice on physical and mental wellbeing, mindfulness and different support networks that are available for everyone to access in times of need. I hope that I can help people with aspects of their situation that they are struggling with, as I would like to be able to do what I can to improve people’s general wellbeing and try to remove the stigma from opening up about personal emotions.

Mental health is a topic that is still a taboo subject in our society, and it’s such an important thing to discuss and be open with people about. Everyone will have times where they struggle with their mental health in varying degrees, particularly at the moment when there is so much uncertainty around every aspect of our lives. I believe that one of the first steps is creating a safe forum for open dialogue about mental health, so we can break the cycle of people bottling their emotions up until it’s physically debilitating every aspect of their life.

In engineering in particular there is the misconception that you can’t show any emotional weaknesses as you won’t be able to ‘handle the pressure’ of being promoted or put forward for a big project, which then would hold you back in your career progression. This is something that is usually untrue and wouldn’t impact your career, but the fear is there so a lot of people will try to put a brave face on instead of reaching out to get the help they need.

Three-quarters of all suicides in the UK are men, which can’t be ignored when considering mental health in the context of engineering, with the high proportion of men making up professional engineers in the UK. In 2019 the suicide rate for both men and women in the UK was the highest for twenty years, which shows that the problem is getting worse despite many high profile campaigns over recent years from charities such as the Samaritans and MIND (Source: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/sep/01/male-suicide-rate-england-wales-covid-19).

Remember if you need professional help don’t hesitate to contact a mental health charity such as MIND (https://www.mind.org.uk/), which does such wonderful work helping people at their time of need.

As always, if anyone wants to reach out please feel free to drop me an email at thefemaleengineerblog@gmail.com.

Emilie

The Female Engineer

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