News & Insights
My Mental Health Journey | Mark Dempster, ELV Package Manager
Mercury is running its Be Brave: Break the Stigma campaign throughout October 2020, aimed at helping to break the stigma around mental health. Mark Dempster speaks to us about his mental health journey.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
“I’m originally from Glasgow, Scotland. I work with Mercury on a data centre project in Frankfurt, Germany, as an ELV System Manager. I’ve worked in the Fire & Security Industry in both Construction and end user markets for over 30 years. I’m married for 26 years to Janice my soulmate and we’ve two adult children, Jack, 24 and Robbie, 21 who make us the proudest parents.
“I’ve been involved with Mercury projects over the years, initially as a subcontractor of one of Mercury’s subcontractors, then as a package manager in the healthcare business unit on a project in Co. Cork, Ireland and from there I moved to the Enterprise Data Centres business unit, employed as an ELV Systems manager on a Data Centre project in Amsterdam, and then one in Frankfurt”.
How was your mental health impacted?
“Earlier in the year, when there were heavy lockdowns in Ireland and the UK, with building sites closed and people on temporary layoff, we were fortunate here in Frankfurt to have been able to continue working throughout the pandemic, as construction projects continued operating here.
“In June, I took two days off work sick in two consecutive weeks. Only having had eight days sick in over 30 years, I knew something was not right. I didn’t tell my wife that I was off sick at first. At the end of the second missed day, I flew home early to take my week’s holiday, but felt broken and with very low esteem. In fact, I actually felt as if I was a failure in everything in my life, work and family”.
How did you hear about the Mercury Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) service?
“I had seen the signs for the Employee Assistance Programme in the canteen but was not ready to call just yet”.
What was your experience like using the EAP service at Mercury? Did you find the service of benefit to you?
“When you’re making this kind of a call, you feel very low. So, it was good that when I did call, the service was very professional and that gave me confidence to carry on with the call and speak about how I was feeling”.
If you didn’t have access to the EAP, do you think you would have sought to get the counselling you required?
“My wife persuaded me to call the EAP and I did also call a local Glasgow helpline before returning to work from my break. They gave me good advice but also advised that I should take up the Mercury route via the EAP.
“Without the support of my wife at home and Phil, Graham and Eoin at work, it may have taken me longer to be pushed to where I needed to be. I felt fortunate to have the excellent support from Mercury, and never felt I was their problem, for want of better words.
“My mind has been with me all my life, not just the time spent working with Mercury. Each individual needs to recognise and choose to make the call for help, and then the EAP comes into its own. As a company, we can only offer the facility of the EAP service and encourage our staff to use it when they need it. We cannot make the call for them”.
What do you think people can do to help break the stigma around mental health?
“Speak out about your feelings and experiences. I’m not ashamed to admit that I needed help and may need for the rest of my life. But if the advice and help I received keeps me on the right path and by talking about it, I can help a colleague, then that can only be a good thing”.
Be Brave – Break the Stigma
Mercury is running its Be Brave: Break the Stigma campaign throughout October 2020.
As part of the campaign, we’ll be promoting awareness of breaking down the stigma associated with mental health and will be partnering with two fantastic charities; Aware and the Irish Men’s Sheds Association. Additionally, we will be donating to similar mental health charities across Europe during this campaign.
We will be posting more interviews with Mercury people sharing their mental health journeys and also sharing our activities across our global projects. Watch this space for some exciting content as we aim to break the stigma!