It’s not uncommon for big businesses to adopt even bigger policies. In the past few years, many initiatives have been made to focus attention towards the wellbeing of workers. Whilst the workplace wellbeing wagon going at full speed is good news for all of us, it can still be easy for many to overlook the individual struggles experienced while pursuing the bigger picture.
Simon Scott-Nelson of Wellity Global knows all too well the trials and tribulations in the world of wellbeing. Like many, Simon has had his battles with mental health, specifically over the course of the pandemic. Aiming to destigmatize conversation surrounding the issue, co-founding the Great British Workplace Wellbeing Awards was one of his many efforts to help break down the barrier between us and our continued wellbeing.
Getting together with Wynne Evans,known for hosting BBC Radio Wales, his role as the Go Compare man, and more recently as host of the Great British Workplace Wellbeing Awards 2022, Simon explores the deeper side of the journey, often overlooked, behind Wynne and his efforts with mental health.
“I think people know me as somebody who’s been in their lives for the past 13 years, as the GoCompare man,” Wynne begins.
“That’s the first thing that most people see me for,” he continues, “but I love doing it, it’s a brilliant thing to be involved in.”
Wynne describes to Simon that many see him as a positive individual, “generous”, “compassionate” and “always ready to cheer people up” are some of the perspectives surrounding Wynne and by all means are well observed traits of his personality.
However, while an overall positive perception is shared by many in and out of Wynne’s life, his own self portrait is painted with a very different brush, giving a telling insight into his own struggle with mental health. “Myself, what would I say about myself?” he considers for a moment, “probably a bit of a mess sometimes. Anxious, at times, like everyone else, a bit lonely, I think about my actions quite a lot.”
“I’m not what people would imagine I am,” tells Wynne, “I am a happy person, and I am quite outgoing, but depression has sat well in my life for a long time.”
Wynne describes his mental health journey as a multi-year long ordeal, “for the past five or six years, I’ve struggled quite a lot,” Wynne tells Simon, “I’m in a much better place now, but I take tablets every day.”
Wynne powerfully states to Simon that his perception on his own mental health has changed drastically over the course of his own journey: “It’s only in the past two years that I realised my anxiety and the depression that I have is my superpower,” he says, “I wouldn’t be the person that I am, committed to work, driven, tremendously ambitious and compassionate without depression and anxiety in my life.”
Elaborating on the commonly overlooked struggles of many individuals in our otherwise wellbeing centric world, Wynne shares a harsh truth: “You can be in a room that’s full of people buzzing around, asking for your autograph, asking for selfies and you can still be the loneliest person in that room,” he says.
Coming out on top
Wynne has come out on the other end of his journey as a stronger person, what he’s gone through is a difficult period of time in which no words can do justice. Explaining what was arguably the peak of his battle, Wynne reflects on some of the coping methods that have helped him get through such a tough time.
Describing his role as a radio host, and his performances in the theatre as his “safe space” Wynne says, “I remember singing just after my marriage falling apart, crying my eyes out in the dressing room, but then as soon as you go on stage, you’re like ok, this I can control.”
“Going on the radio and going on stage were spaces I knew what the parameters of what could happen were.”
From reflecting on the time in which he almost took his own life and feeling helpless, Wynne says he had “tried everything, from counselling, I had been on dates with every type of person just to try and swing me out of it,” but nothing had worked.
On the day in which Wynne had planned to take his life, in a final effort, Wynne reached out to a psychiatrist, opening up about his plans of suicide and how he truly felt.
“I just felt like there was a cloud that was lifted and I could actually see some sunshine again,” reflects Wynne, telling Simon of his conversation with the psychiatrist, who had prescribed him medication, but more importantly assured Wynne that he would begin to feel better.
“There was some positivity at last,” says Wynne, and since then he states, “that positivity has just grown and grown.”
Now on the better side of things mentally, Wynne recounts to Simon an important lesson learned - something he tries his best to remember.
“My son lives with me and that relationship is fantastic,” he says, “maybe that relationship wouldn’t have been that fantastic if I hadn’t been placed in a situation where I was alone. you have to look at those positives.”
Wynne’s journey is a powerful one, perhaps an analogy to remember, as behind the jolly two dimensional character we’ve all seen on TV singing about insurance, is a man, with his own story and struggles, just as behind every individual, no matter their outward appearance, is their own inner struggles.
If you’d like some more insight into Wynne’s story and hear the thought provoking tale of his battle with mental health, be sure to watch the interview, hosted by the Great British Workplace Wellbeing Awards here.