May is Mental Health Awareness Month. While this is a massively important initiative for framing a public-facing narrative around mental health, the consignment of an issue as widespread and pervasive to an awareness month comes with its own problems: It can encourage individuals and organizations to show solidarity with mental health issues for promotional gain.
This is something we at OneLogin hope to combat, by providing lasting and impactful content which helps to understand how our cybersecurity industry is dealing with mental health, beyond the parameters of Mental Health Awareness Month.
Our #IAMOkay campaign, which aims to understand how security and IT leaders are dealing with the seismic issue of mental health and stress, discovered that almost all CISOs/IT leaders (77% of respondents) believed the pandemic increased their work-related stress. When asked about their workload, 86% of respondents reported their workload increased during the pandemic. Of those whose workload increased, 25% believed their workload increased significantly, while 34% reported a moderate increase. In addition to increased stress and workload, 67% of respondents also reported an increase in work hours, with 26% noting a significant increase and 41% describing some increase.
While the results of the survey indicate that the industry supports stressed employees, it’s still important that individuals are armed with the appropriate techniques for coping with stress.
Give yourself a break
One of the problems associated with the work-from-anywhere model that the pandemic has ushered in is that it causes a culture where the lines between working life and home life are blurred. You need to take it upon yourselves to take a break and make sure that the lines between work and home life remain balanced.
Understand what works for you
Everyone reacts to mental health difficulties differently, and everyone will have different coping mechanisms that work. Some of the security leaders we spoke to had clearly considered this already, leading them to suggest that exercise was the key element. Others had not taken the time to do this, choosing unsustainable coping mechanisms such as drugs and alcohol to manage stress. We recommend incorporating healthy stress management techniques into your lifestyle, with useful examples of these provided by the American Psychological Association.
Talk to your employer
Employers care - This is what we’ve found out. The security industry leaders we have surveyed were definitive about this, with about three-quarters of OneLogin’s survey respondents believing their organizations valued their health and well-being. But in order for people to be aware of your mental health issues, you need to let them know if you are struggling. While this can be a sensitive issue, if you believe your employer has your best interest at heart, then a problem halved will still be a problem shared.
Visit our #IAMOkay resource center for more mental health management ideas and information.