World Mental Health Day is recognised every year on October the 10th. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), one in eight people worldwide live with a mental-health issue. This year, the theme is “Make mental health and wellbeing for all a global priority.”
The MHF website states: “For over 70 years, we’ve been working to make sure that mental health is treated on a par with physical health.
“We need to do as much as possible to prevent mental ill-health – as individuals and as a society.”
This year, more than ever, it feels like mental health needs to be our priority. Between the ongoing climate crisis, global instability, the cost-of-living crisis, and the fallout from the global pandemic, it feels as if our mental health has been collectively pushed to the limited over the last few years. It’s worth saying, at the outset of this article, that if you’re feeling mentally swamped, stressed, and burned out, it’s no surprise, and you’re not alone. We’re also juggling our own busy lives and trying to find the balance as individuals. Trying to make sense of it all can feel incredibly overwhelming.
A massive factor for mental health for many is the environment in which we work – having a stable, pleasant, and safe place to work where you feel your mental health is valued and prioritised is a key factor. This is something we’re really passionate about here at MRG, and an ongoing project for us as a company.
Some of the ways in which MRG supports their colleagues’ mental health:
- Alison Shine, Emilia Fasano and Rob Cullum volunteered to become Mental Health First Aiders in the workplace, and the company funded their training course in 2021. With this training, they’ve been able to support their colleagues and always make themselves available for a chat and some advice, when they’re needed. This is something they all feel passionate about in their day to day lives, so they’ve been behind the scenes devising initiatives to support their colleagues.
- This couldn’t have been achieved without the support of the senior management team at MRG, who have an open-door policy when it comes to mental health. They are advocates of good communication and are always open to new ideas.
- We held our own Mental Health awareness week earlier this year in conjunction with MHFA’s Bring Your Whole Self to Work Day, which had some really positive feedback.
- We’re advocates of bringing dogs to work – and Obie (our Practice Manager Sam Holland’s dog) is one of our regular visitors. He’s a great addition to the office, always bringing smiles to people’s faces.
- We’ve organised and executed a number of successful charity fundraisers which have had involvement across teams – this year has included a bake sale, the Thames Bridges Trek and a brilliant pub quiz and raffle.
Whilst we’re proud of the things we’ve done so far, there’s plenty more we could be getting involved in. The 12,000 step challenge for November is a fantastic initiative by the Mental Health Foundation, aiming to get us moving and feel physically and mentally healthier. As winter approaches, the shorter days and colder weather can make it harder to get outside and exercise, and the seasonal changes can have a negative impact on many people’s mental health. So we’re going to use this as an opportunity to not only walk, but to get people talking about how they’re really feeling.
But there lies another challenge – how do we talk about mental health in the workplace? It can be tricky to know how to approach it. When we’re asked the question “How are you?”, how many of us can say we answer honestly, and truly, how we’re really feeling?
We’ve recently discovered the Rose Bud Thorn Technique which is a great way to check in with someone – and even yourself – in a mindful, engaging way. Not just focusing on the negative but also the things that are going well. It’s a small thing which can make a big difference. https://www.makingbusinessmatter.co.uk/rose-thorn-bud/
What has been positive for you lately? It can be a small achievement or something bigger – all are valid of recognition.
You are looking for someone to highlight a success, or a small win, or something that happened positively that day.
‘What was the tricky part of your day?’ Or the ‘not so good’ thing?’. What’s been going on lately that has been causing you anxiety? Opening up the conversation about our struggles can be immensely therapeutic and it’s often the first step to solving them.
This is our favourite part, as it looks forward and considers future possibilities. ‘What are you looking forward to?’. This part is all about a new idea, or something that will happen that is good.
Try it out, this World Mental Health Day – practice a small act of kindness, for yourself, for someone else – start with one small step.
And, if you’re looking to work for a company dedicated to constantly improving the workplace for all colleagues, a business that takes employee wellbeing seriously alongside its corporate and social responsibilities, please contact Tammi Roberts, our Talent Acquisition Manager.