Movember in Symphony: Interview with Enis Kudo
Enis, why is it, in the context of today's life and emerging challenges (pandemics, isolation, remote work, very limited contact with people, etc.), essential to talk about mental health?
I am happy to have the opportunity to convey my observations on mental health in this period. Especially since this is a period of compromised physical health, which in return has the consequence, we do not even remember to think about mental health care. Mental health is an essential aspect of our general functioning.
As a psychologist, the story of mental health is essential, and I tell it all year round. The period we are currently living in is challenging in itself. Feelings are mixed, from nostalgia to sadness, disappointment, and anger, further enhanced by the isolation we feel. However difficult it may be, there are ways to deal with it in a better way.
Two things are crucial. Number one is to make ourselves available to others, even virtually. The second one is to use others' availability, whether we are talking about friends, family, or professional help, to give us value. All of this is preceded by thinking about ourselves, the state we are in, and putting our mental and physical health first. Quality self-reflection can help us focus on segments of our functioning, where we obtain the highest values. In this reflection, we will conclude that part of our activities will focus on strengthening ourselves in mental health.
It is essential to keep yourself balanced in terms of emotional, cognitive, and physical terms. This way, we make our holistic system balanced and quickly confront a new and unusual reality.
During November, the Symphony community celebrates Movember with a focus on men's health. How popular is mental health talk among the male population? Is talking about it still a taboo topic?
That's right, Symphony, as a socially responsible company, is continuously working on promoting a healthy lifestyle among its employees. Thus, during November, we are raising awareness about men's and women's health through numerous activities. In addition to urging employees to have regular medical checkups and act preventively, we also discuss mental health. When it comes to talking about mental health, I can say that the situation has been better lately. The reason for that is a growing trend in the world in caring for yourself and your health in general, and it primarily refers to physical fitness and sports activities that are slowly becoming part of many men's daily lives. One affects the other, for sure. However, the story of mental health is quite overshadowed by all this. Although there is a growing openness of the male part of the population to deal with this topic or even seek professional help, we must continue to work actively to raise awareness of the importance of mental health care.
When we talk about urological or gynecological examinations, as unimaginable as it may sound, there are still people in our society who have never had one of these two examinations. Why is it like that? How can the Symphony community, by its example, influence the change of consciousness?
Generally speaking, most of the population operates on the principle of going to the doctor only when they are already ill, and we very rarely do this preventively. I attribute this approach to health to several factors such as, for example, the fact that very often we all put others ahead of us, or we have a fear of a potential diagnosis or the general fear of going to the doctor. However, it is frightening that many young people have never had a urological or gynecological examination.
The reason for this is primarily a lack of education, fear of talking about it with parents or loved ones, shame and embarrassment, and the thought "It will not happen to me" that occurs to many when they hear that someone is sick. What Symphony does to influence people's consciousness by its example is, above all, to create a positive and inspiring work atmosphere. Constant investment in all community members' wellbeing, the promotion of healthy living habits through physical activities, a healthy diet, and conversation make a change in the society in which we live. Besides, through individual and group activities, we always emphasize our community members' qualities. We work on improving existing qualities and adopting new knowledge. During November, we called on employees to act preventively as part of the Movember campaign by performing a regular, systematic check-up.
How can conversation help us?
In addition to Symphony urging people to take preventive action, perform a systematic review, the emphasis is also placed on talking about it. Why? Well, it’s because talking can be life-saving. It is essential to first be aware of all things within yourself and then turn to someone else. Being able to listen and talk about what is bothering us makes a huge difference. I have already mentioned how important accessibility is and how important the expression of needs and emotions is for our functioning. Through communication, we help others understand and hear us. We share good and evil. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, when it was difficult for everyone, we conducted several different workshops on adaptability and stress management to discuss various and new techniques for constructively managing self and overall health. It was also a great way to focus on the essential needs that were being disrupted at the time.
In this regard, we must emphasize that communication is an essential tool by which we ensure a normal everyday life. We can all, to begin with, communicate with ourselves and do regular medical preventive examinations, and later through communication, we influence others to do the same.
What does Symphony as a socially responsible company offer to its employees?
Symphony is very geared towards its community members' wellbeing, whether it is for physical or mental health. Our team of psychologists supports people in challenging situations where they may find themselves. We are still going through a challenging period, but from the perspective of employee relations, we are proud because as a company, we have transformed very quickly and provided our people with what they needed at that moment. We continuously monitor the situation, and as a community, we try to anticipate potential risks and work on preventing them.
Apart from all this, I am so proud of the Symphony community and the fact we are always there for each other. The support we give to each other in all situations inspires us all to be the best versions of ourselves. Change begins with us, and sometimes just one conversation or step is enough to be the Change that Matters.