10 TED Talks about Mental Health Our Team Are Loving

20 Jan, 2021

In recent years Australia has turned a spotlight on the previously dimly lit subject of mental health, which has only shone brighter this year as COVID-19 saw feelings of anxiety and isolation sweep across the community. Over one in five Australian workers have taken time off in the past 12 months because they felt stressed, anxious, depressed or otherwise mentally unhealthy.

Knowledge is power in the fight against mental health issues, so for any managers and workers looking to care for their team members and colleagues, we’ve compiled a list of our ten favourite TED talks on the subject.

Before mental health began affecting his own life, Sangu Delle was of the view that men who dealt with their mental health were somehow weak. In Australia this sentiment is still all too common, despite persistent and valuable efforts to change it. Challenging this deeply embedded prejudice led Delle to the realisation: “Being honest about how we feel doesn’t make us weak. It makes us human.” These are wise words for anyone in people management.

A world-renowned professor who specialises in the study of human connection, this is the TED talk that arguably propelled Dr Brene Brown into the public consciousness. An absolute must-watch for leaders and employees alike, Brown speaks about the human ability, and need, to empathise, love and belong. He also emphasises how our vulnerabilities ultimately make us stronger people.

When we get the sniffles or feel a nagging physical pain, we don’t think twice about seeing the doctor. However, when we feel emotional pain or any other type of psychological issue, we’re far less likely to seek professional help. What if we applied the same approach to our emotional wellbeing as we do to our physical wellbeing? Guy Winch delivers a healthy dose of introspection, which is particularly valuable to those in high-pressure roles.

During COVID-19 and the transition for many to remote work, the line between work and life became blurred, and stresses once left in the office found their way into the home. However, what if you could resolve this by hitting the refresh button in your mind? According to mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe, you can do just that by devoting 10 minutes every day to being in the present moment – no emailing, no talking or even thinking.

COVID-19 has imposed the tyranny of social and physical distance on many of our most valued relationships, whether family, friends or colleagues. According to conflict mediator and author Priya Parker, “We don’t necessarily need to gather more, we need to gather better.” In this talk she explains how you can achieve this.

Mental health is enough of a crisis in developed countries, in which around 50% of those affected will not receive appropriate care. This issue is greatly intensified in developing countries, where a lack of resources pushes this figure closer to 90%. Vikram Patel proposes a promising solution, by empowering ordinary people to deliver extraordinary care to those who need it the most.

Most psychiatric drugs treat the brain as a single entity. According to David Anderson, a more targeted approach grants the ability to deliver far better patient outcomes. To support his theory Anderson transports himself into the not-so-nuanced mind of a fruit fly. This incredibly interesting and unique talk explains potentially game-changing work.

This seemingly simple question is one that had humanity scratching its collective head for millennia. The life’s work of circadian neuroscientist Russell Foster has been to find an appropriately nuanced answer. In this talk, he walks you through sleep myths and sleeps truths, including the role of sleep in our lives, and how it can be used as a predictor of mental health.

It’s perhaps obvious to say that the body and mind are inextricably linked, but many of us don’t realise the degree to which this statement is true. In this talk, neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki outlines the science behind how exercise boosts both memory and mood, protecting against neurodegenerative disease in the process.

In the professional sphere there’s often far more talking than there is listening, particularly when it comes to employer-employee conversations. Through her own lived experience, which saw her transform from victim to survivor, Sophie Andrews explains the value of an understanding ear, and why the simple act of listening can be many times more valuable than offering advice.

Keeping mentally healthy is a group effort – it relies on neighbour checking in on neighbour, or colleague on colleague. Mental health issues can affect anyone, particularly in the professional working environment. So why not forward this list onto your team? You never know who might need it.

And if you need help creating that sense of team in the first place, we’re always here to offer a helping hand.