It's talked about lots at the moment, isn't it? 'Mental welfare', 'workplace wellbeing' and 'responsibility for employers'. But who's actually doing something about it? Who is setting the example and paving the way for the future of workplace mental health?
It can be daunting at first when looking to tackle mental health issues, and you're likely to have lots of questions. How do we approach this? What can we do to help? Will we open a 'can of worms'?
Sometimes, you have to dive in and implement plans based on professional advice and your team's needs. For example, Hotwire's initiatives such as 'Mental Health First Aider programme' or 'Free Headspace subscription'. They really aren't complicated or expensive. It just takes a little thought.
Every month we work with various companies, including Passle, where we have a group workshop for all their employees. We call this Lifestyle Coaching. Here, we present on a lifestyle topic and open it up to the group for discussion. We cover physical health and fitness, nutrition, sleep, resilience and most importantly mental health. You should see how the barriers get broken down when somebody stands out in front of the group and really talks about the subject, with real-life examples, and ways to help. This not only sparks ongoing conversation on the topic between the lifestyle coach and team, but, also between the team themselves. They help each other. It's such a simple initiative, but unbelievably effective and it's wonderful to watch.
We had our own 'Mental Health First Aider programme' in the Marines while in Afghanistan over 10 years ago. It was very simple; have people trained who know how to listen and talk about the subject. It was a very effective way to help immediately. Not by a stranger, but by someone else in the trenches. Literally in this example, but the same applies in the workplace.
As they say, it's good to talk...
It was heartening to hear Darryl Sparey talk about the enlightened work culture and leadership provided at Hotwire UK. He discussed some of the initiatives which the company has put in place to help support their staff, which include: Thoughtful working – a philosophy adopted across the business to do away with “presentee-ism” and allow people to balance their work and personal commitments by encouraging them to work when and where they need toBUPA Employee Assistance Programme – offering counsellors and psychotherapists to staffMental Health First Aider programme – with staff trained to help in first response mental health situationsA free Headspace subscription for staffPaid sabbaticals every four years for long-serving team members in order to allow them to recharge their batteries