Here's something sent in by one of our readers.
'Until recently I undertook a middle office role at a well known global investment bank, and I was considered a high achiever throughout my tenure within Capital Markets. I made Director by the age of 30 and was generally well regarded both internally and across the market. Despite this, however, I've recently been left with no option but to resign, and submit a claim for a gross negligence by the bank in its duty of care towards me.
From my experience, I truly believe that there are many employees who simply feel unable to share with their employers the fact that they are operating under stress due to a fear of negative repercussions. I fully believe every institution is different in terms of culture (some maybe more understanding than others) however, in my case, I was routinely put in stressful situations by the senior management team that made it impossible to speak up. Witnessing acts of bullying, sexual discrimination, disability discrimination, drunkenness in the workplace, aggression etc. (the list goes on!) at a Managing Director level left me in no doubt that my career would be over if I indeed did speak up.
Earlier this year, I suffered a severe episode of anxiety and depression that unfortunately left me suicidal. I was unable to return to work and sought the assistance of counselling / medication through my GP. I’m pleased to say that, with the assistance of professional therapists, I am making progress each day and am now starting to feel happier in myself again. But I genuinely consider this to have been the most difficult time of my life, which was not made any easier by my employer’s attempts to cover up the issues I raised and also exploit my vulnerability.
For me, I only seek solace in raising the profile of my experience in connection with this very real issue; it's time firm's in our industry did more to acknowledge it. Yes, compared to others industries, we are rewarded handsomely. But we are still human, and I implore anyone who is experiencing feelings of stress, anxiety or depression to mention this to at least ‘someone’ before it is too late.
We need to open up our minds to this common problem - there are many people like me from our industry at the hospital I attend (and not all have told their employers). And we must stop treating mental health issues (and the causes of them) as a taboo subject. I have been fortunate enough to have sought appropriate help, but many financial market professionals just don't see the signs, and are not encouraged to do so by the people and organisations they serve.
Unless things change, some of our friends and loved-ones could become seriously ill - or worse. We all owe it to them to try harder to help them recognise and work through the signs.