With any luck you’ll have noticed that today, 10th October, is World Mental Health Day. The theme for 2018 is a fascinating and important one—Young people and mental health in a changing world—and we’re looking forward to seeing what different people make of it.
There’s a limit to how much a work-based site like this one can entirely reflect that theme, though. Our 100% digital, mobile-optimised nature helps, of course. And we’re certainly a response to the changing world of mental health: there’s more appetite than ever to consider the topic, and more resources and ideas than ever to help with that; we’re trying to connect the two sides together.
But actually, young staff enter our workforces every day. And given that—especially in organisations with a defined career structure or an active graduate or apprenticeship programme—the younger staff will often be the newer ones, a relevant question is: how do we make our workplaces, and our teams, supportive and welcoming ones to join?
To mark the first World Mental Health Day since this site launched, we invited four key people to contribute blogs highlighting the work they’ve been doing and the thinking behind them. And it’s my pleasure to introduce them here.
To begin with, Business in the Community‘s Wellbeing Director Louise Aston introduces us to the brand new , produced in conjunction with Mercer and released just this week. She writes that, while businesses are increasingly making commitments to mental health, words aren’t enough: it’s time to take action and make noticeable changes, especially in areas like financial literacy and job insecurity. Time To Change Director Jo Loughran summarises their work to lower stigma and encourage conversation, and in particular their fantastic new campaign. It’s a simple message: ask someone how they are and they’ll say “I’m fine.” So ask them again—how are you really?
We’re delighted to welcome Samaritans CEO Ruth Sutherland, shining a spotlight on the learning tool they developed with The Lord Mayor’s Appeal. She writes about the clear value of teaching people to consider the emotional health of themselves and those around them, given the huge range of issues, in and out of the workplace, that can affect it. And finally, Project Manager of This is Me at The Lord Mayor’s Appeal, Rose Grissell shares some of the amazing success of the and encourages us all to take part. She introduces the lived experience of a Bank of England employee talking about the difference it made to be in a workplace where these issues were on the table for conversation. We talk a lot here about workplaces, organisations, employers and teams—so it’s all the more valuable to remind ourselves of these real-life individual experiences whenever we can.
andshare something important in common: they’re about the smallest of things an individual can do, just to signal to others that it’s OK to talk about how you’re feeling. Simple ways of looking out for each other. takes things further: building skills, confidence and understanding to keep the conversation going. It’s about permission to take care of each other and of ourselves. And the from Business in the Community shows that the need for this is as urgent as ever—and highlights measures that organisations can, and should, take.
Clear permission to talk about our mental health; colleagues who’ll really listen when we do; the skills to support ourselves and others; and committed action from those with the opportunity to take it. In a constantly changing world, all have a part to play. Our thanks to Louise, Rose, Jo and Ruth for their blogs—and I hope you’ll take some time to read them all at some point today.