Mental health matters: what is your business doing to get staff talking about mental health?

By Genevieve Glover, MD Maudsley Learning

Genevieve Glover, MD Maudsley LearningMental health in the workplace is gaining increased interest from employees, employers, the media and HR professionals, but more work needs to be done to break down stigmas and create work environments that promote mental wellbeing.

One in six of us is experiencing a mental health challenge in the workplace at any one time and it is the right thing (both morally and financially) to ensure the physical and mental health of your workforce so they have a positive environment within which to thrive and perform.

There are a number of organisations and individuals already leading this charge, driven by personal experience of mental ill health. But as someone who has spent 12 years in corporate health management, I think it's fair to say it still feels like the usual suspects are contributing to this raised awareness.

Whether a peer, line manager, executive, HR or OH professional, I think we should all feel as comfortable talking about our own and other’s mental health as we do about a broken leg, headache or the flu.

There are some excellent case studies to be shared and work that has taken place over a number of years, with some good measured outcomes. Having said that, it would be great if more realised the value of proactively and positively working with employees to support them in improving their physical and mental health, as well as raising awareness of mental health and how we can all support each other.

Whether a peer, line manager, executive, HR or OH professional, I think we should all feel as comfortable talking about our own and other’s mental health as we do about a broken leg, headache or the flu.

At Maudsley Learning, we're doing our bit to raise awareness, provide information and create opportunities (both face-to-face and online) for people to share their experiences, thoughts and concerns on mental health and wellbeing.

In January 2014, we launched our Mental Health in the Workplace work stream with a webinar and conference focused on how HR professionals can contribute to the development and provision of a supportive workplace environment for their employees and maintain high performing teams.

In November, we launched Maudsley Learning Online, our social learning platform; a repository of world-class information and topic based communities with optional e-learning modules. Due to its importance, we launched with the topic of mental health in the workplace.

In 2015, we'll be building on these events by extending the learning into discussing practical ways of tackling mental health in the workplace. Our conference Why Mental Health Matters on Friday 23 January (chaired by the Work Foundation's Stephen Bevan and featuring speakers including Lancaster University Professor Sir Cary Cooper and BT Group CMO Paul Litchfield, American Express' Georgia Hedley and former Unilever Global VP HR marketing, communications, sustainability and water Geoff McDonald) will focus on shared learning and case studies, looking at preventative strategies, promoting wellbeing, best practice and flexible working.

But what is your business doing? Come along on the 23rd to tell us.

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