#iamlivingproof is an initiative to raise money and awareness of the fact, that many people on this planet not only suffer from mental diseases but that they are as capable of having a career, a job, a normal happy life as any other human being on this planet.

who started the #iamlivingproof campaign?

The founder of the stability network is Katherine Switz. She experienced her first psychotic break at the time when she was at Harvard Business School. She and her doctor weren’t sure if she could ever go back to her career, doing what she was able to do before her psychotic break. Her determination and inspiration – found in Kay Redfield Jamison, a psychologist and author who had a psychotic break herself and went back to work – gave her the strength to go back. She had a successful 20-year career in international development afterwards. She realized the importance of role models one can find in people who were successfully living and working with mental health conditions.  So in the year 2011 she found the first stability leaders and began to build her network so that people can speak and share their stories and be a role model for others.

Today the Stability Network is a nonprofit movement of people in the workforce who got trained to be public speakers. These so called ‘leaders’ speak out about their own mental health situation and how they cope with their disease and career. This inspired not only thousands of people in over 100 cities all over the world, but the stability network created a movement that went viral. The idea behind the campaign was to raise awareness at the end of the year for people who are diagnosed with any kind of mental illness. To paint a more positive picture about life and recovery from and with a mental condition. The response to the campaign is great, the #iamlivingproof and #supportmentalhealth was a success on LinkedIn. They received a lot of posts from people achieving their career goals in leading positions living and working with depression, anxiety or bipolar disorders.

This response is not surprising, given the fact that depression and anxiety disorders are within the top 10 global leading causes of years lived with disability (YLD) – accounting for 52 million YLD and 24 million YLD. In many countries, companies and employers have a set of rules on how to reduce work-related stress. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) even released a workbook containing ‘Management Standards’ in order to help scaling risk assessments for work-related stress of the employees. Employers can then use risk management to reduce the stress by finding an appropriate intervention. Preventing mental disorders in the work environment is a huge topic. Maybe that is why only 13% of surveyed UK employees feel able to reveal a mental health condition to their manager/supervisor even though about 31% of the employees have been diagnosed with a mental health issue. In view of these figures there are many more campaigns like #iamlivingproof needed in order to illustrate a more positive picture about working with mental health conditions.

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