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Interview with Ben Harthun


A stigma surrounds mental health in our society and it is hard to be transparent about this issue, especially at work. We hope to destigmatize mental health and its effects. We spoke to Ben Harthun, who is a mental health advocate and a brand designer with experience at GoFundMe, Amazon, and Microsoft.

Ben reminded us that 25% of the population struggles with some sort of mental illness. He said:

“This figure has stuck with me for a long time. It’s important to let people know that it is okay to not be okay.”

Comparison is a thief:

Many times, we compare ourselves to our co-workers or family members. We see differences in abilities, talents, and results, but we don’t stop and realize that each one of us has different circumstances in life. Ben remarked that because we compare ourselves to the norms set up in society, we often feel anxious and less than accepted. He said:

Our society innately built barriers that suppress fluidity in human nature, and a lot of these things are damaging to our mental health.”




Isolation increases mental health issues:

Working in the office has some benefits because it allows co-workers to more directly support each other. For example, co-workers can eat lunch at the same time compared to snacking alone at home. In general, socializing is easier. When working at home we lose some of this structure and support. Ben said:

For two years there are these things that the work world innately built into our schedule that benefitted the mental health that we now completely lost.”

Ways to combat mental health while working at home:

Ben suggests some techniques to help combat some of the negative effects on our mental health while working from home:

🥸 Have an advocate (someone who checks in on you)

🙃Set boundaries (mentally & physically)

😎 Find ways to prioritize your time creatively (automation is your friend)

😊 Keep a structured schedule

Now, we know that these things seem so easy to do. When things are easy, we sometimes forget to do them! It’s time to put yourself first—Namaste.✌🏾

PS Keeping sleep high in quality and quantity makes a crazy difference for my mental health. The Calm app can make it easier to fall asleep! Try it out, if you haven’t yet.