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This week in the UK is ‘Mental Health Awareness week’ with the theme being ‘loneliness’, which is especially important after 2 years of remote working, isolating and being unable to see loved-ones.
Loneliness and the issues surrounding mental health affects millions of people in the UK every year. Both at home, but also it is estimated that 6 in 10 workers have experienced mental health challenges in the workplace.
This is far too high. Although we have come a long way, there is still much work to do in the world of work and beyond before mental health and wellbeing are fully recognised and prioritised.
What then can be done to make workplaces more welcoming and help alleviate the challenges people with mental health issues face?
For Mental Health Awareness Week, Raconteur hosted a Panel Discussion with mental health advocates, Petra Velzeboer, Rob Stephenson, Gian Power and Teresa Clark.
From left to right Gian Power, founder, TLC Lions Rob Stephenson, CEO, Formscore, and founder and CEO, InsideOut Leaderboard Teresa Clark, founder and CEO, The Wellness Revolution Petra Velzeboer, CEO, PVL
The panel discussion was truly inspiring, and the speakers shared their advice on championing mental health at work and discussed ways that organizations and leaders can proactively promote wellbeing.
During the Panel, we discussed how leaders can and should set a wellbeing agenda and how creating a positive and supportive working environment has to start with those in positions of power. According to Rob Stephenson,
“Wellbeing needs to be seen as an essential component of high-performance organisations; that requires education at the leadership level,” he says. “When a leader shares their stories of mental ill health or passion for wellbeing, it creates a culture of permission that cascades through the rest of the organisation.”
Teresa Clark agreed and then added,
” We can only really address stigma if we start to normalize conversations about it”.
Therefore, if leaders are unable to demonstrate their commitment to mental wellbeing, it risks contributing to the stigma that already surrounds the subject.
Gian Power added, for organizations to truly encourage openness in the workplace, business leaders need to demonstrate two key skills; compassion and authenticity.
The panel was both inspiring and educational to us at Raconteur, and it was also extremely interesting to hear their thoughts on the best way to deal with the new stresses caused by the new ‘hybrid-work environment.'
They discussed how it’s not enough for wellbeing to be ‘standalone anymore’ and that businesses must find a way to weave mental health into all aspects of their communications and training, ensuring that everyone benefits.
This ties in with this year's theme of loneliness excellently and it was amazing to hear the thoughts and ideas from such inspiring mental health advocates.
It’s important that companies support collaboration in this new world of hybrid working, but also encourage their employees to build meaningful connections with one another to help alleviate both loneliness and issues surrounding mental health.
For example; Last month for stress awareness week and in preparation for mental health awareness, we organized a company-wide ‘art therapy day’. We gave our Raconteurs the opportunity to explore more creative ways to de-stress. The task, to draw a bowl of fruit.
This was a great way for the company to relax, and connect with fellow colleagues – we also uncovered some hidden artistic talent! See some snapshots below:
We at Raconteur want to say a huge thank you to all 4 of the incredible Mental Health Advocates for their inspirational panel discussion and it was a fantastic way to #keeptheconversationgoing.
Read the full article with more snippets from our Mental Health discussion here: