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Mental Health: Why it’s better when we talk about it

18/05/2018 By James Parker

Work is a huge part of life, so employers have a key role to play in supporting their employees’ wellbeing.

Deloitte published this: At a Tipping Point? Workplace mental health and wellbeing which is a report emphasising how important it is to raise awareness of workplace mental health.

We do our best to make La Fosse a great place to work, and we believe we’re on the right track.

But being in a fast-paced industry comes with its pressures, and these can weigh on even the steadiest characters. Promoting emotional wellbeing feels vital – so we’ve tried our best to create an environment for our staff to talk openly about it.

So, as we reflect on this week's Mental Health Awareness Week, we’re breaking down why we do this, and sharing a few approaches that La Fosse has implemented along the way.

We don’t have all the answers of course but are keen to play a part in the conversation.

Promoting positive mental health can be embedded into a company's culture

Having a healthy mind is no different from having a healthy body and both affect our performance.

And although Mental health is universal, a lot of people still find it hard to talk about. This is what makes awareness key. By talking about it more, employers can normalise mental health discussions and help address the surrounding stigma.

As the Deloitte report shows, a more open stance on mental health can help employees understand and work on all of this – so that the employer can be a real catalyst.

For La Fosse, it ties in with our mission anyway - treating people with care and respect. Talking openly, working through challenges together, and sharing our successes and struggles alike.

We’ve also been working extra hard to put positive mental health at the front of our team’s mind. Which includes getting specialist support.

The power of a partnership

A lot of SMEs may not have the budget or experience to bring mental health experts in-house. One solution to get around this is to work in partnership with a third party. For example, a year ago La Fosse teamed up with Sanctus, an organisation offering mental health coaching in the workplace.

We launched the programme with the help of internal sponsors – two senior leaders willing to share their mental health challenges with the rest of the business. It was a hugely personal commitment, and an emotionally vulnerable meeting - but this top-down approach was necessary to combat the shame surrounding vulnerability and weakness. By opening up and discussing their fears and concerns, our sponsors showed the de-stigmatising power of talking.

There are many similar organisations out there willing to support businesses. In the end, people should simply be aware: aware of what positive mental health is, aware of what drives it, and aware of how important it is to talk about it. In taking this stance and introducing a proactive, positive programme, we’re giving everyone a chance to exercise their minds as well as their bodies.

Gather feedback to stay on track

If your experience of trying to do something about this doesn’t go right the first time, that's okay. Ours wasn’t all smooth sailing, and we aren't in a state of perfection. We accept that this will take time to get right.

But is it important and, as a couple of anonymous quotes form the team remind us, a really powerful and rewarding area to focus on:

“For ages I thought I was the only one suffering from mental health problems. It wasn't until I'd spoken to Sanctus that I found out I wasn't alone and there's loads of people fighting the same battle. Talking to someone is a great form of help and release, even if you feel like it won’t help initially."

“Having Sanctus partner with La Fosse has given me a space where I can feel comfortable talking about certain aspects of my life that perhaps I wouldn't share with others through fear of burdening them. Sometimes just being able to voice what's on your mind is all you need to make you feel better about things."

 

To learn more about what we're doing to make this a great place to work - and what we're doing to promote positive mental health in the workplace - get in touch with Lauren Connolly: lauren.connolly@lafosse.com or 07866049194

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