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Eliminating the stigma around mental illness in the workplace


October 9, 2017

World Mental Health Day – October 10 — is a day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy. An initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health to raise public awareness of mental health issues worldwide.(1)

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

During our adult lives, we spend a significant amount of time at work, and our experience in the workplace is a major factor of our overall well being.(2) For people experiencing mental illness, the workplace can be a source of anxiety, stress and pressure as they attempt to fit into inflexible standards, particularly when having an ‘off’ day. Studies show that six in 10 of employees who say they have depression hide the condition from their employers, often because they feel it will put their jobs at risk, or their employer won’t understand.(3)

“My previous life, in a traditional office environment, often meant painting on a face and holding myself together to fit in and conform to expected standards. Finding Hoxby meant finding a culture that enables me to be nurtured, supported, and actively encouraged to be nothing other than myself.  I am no longer ashamed to say when I am having a ‘wobbly’ day.  As a direct result, I am more certain of who I am, and my anxiety has reduced.”, Hoxby Associate, Anonymous

The Hoxby Collective is proud to provide a platform for professionals to work in an entirely flexible, transparent and honest way. We allow our Associates to work when they want, and where they want and our supportive community embraces this entirely. If an Associate doesn’t feel up to working one day, they can feel comfortable being able to take that day to look after their well-being without feeling like they may be negatively impacted.

“It was my own personal suffering with burnout that made me understand just how important it is to feel in control of your time at work as well as to genuinely believe in what you are working towards. We created Hoxby with this in mind, to give people the freedom to choose when and where they work and the collective mission to make the working world a happier place for everyone.”, Hoxby Co-Founder, Alex Hirst

We want to use this day as an opportunity to help reduce the stigma and show how easy it is for workplaces to embrace flexible, open and transparent measures around mental illness. Hoxby Associate, Finance Director and Managing Director of accounts.byhoxby, Helen Barnes, is the perfect example of someone who has still had an incredibly successful career while recovering from mental illness. With the supportive environment of Hoxby, Helen has been able to take control of her career and her recovery in a positive way,

“I have always known that part of my recovery from post-natal depression meant getting back some independent self worth and for me that’s working. But how could I ever work when on bad days I am barely able to function? Then I found Hoxby and I can see some light. Bad days no longer means calling my boss to say I couldn’t get out of bed. I can work when I want and where I want. I may still have bad days but I deliver my work to deadlines. I am surrounded by an amazing network of like minded people who strive to promote this work style and support you every step of the way. Progress on recovery is hard and slow at times but I would not be where I am now without Hoxby. It’s quite simply helped me come back to life again.”

If you too want to support World Mental Health Day, share this blog with your social networks and don’t be afraid to share your experiences. Let’s reduce the stigma and encourage workplaces to do the same.

If you’d like to join a workstyle that embraces flexibility, join us at The Hoxby Collective here, or if you’d like to work with an agency that is forward thinking, find out more about our services here.



Jes is a marketer motivated to use her skills for good, not evil. Specialising in the digital marketing space, Jes works on Hoxby’s brand and runs her own freelance consultancy working with small businesses, start-ups and not-for-profits. She is currently living as a digital nomad, travelling around Australia.

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