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News & Culture

Continuing the mental health conversation

Mental health has become a bit of a buzz word in recent years, but it is much more than a trend. People are recognising the importance of taking care of your own mental wellbeing as well as companies talking about the importance in the workplace. It affects not only how we think or how we feel, but how we make decisions. While mental health issues are in fact very common, it is possible to fully recover and thrive with the right help.

In the workplace, poor mental health is a leading cause of sickness leave. In the UK alone, 70 million work days are lost each year as a direct result – that’s pretty shocking. If that statistic isn’t enough to wake us all up and recognise how important it is that we start talking about our issues, then perhaps this will: 38% of Brits fear that revealing they have a mental health issue will cost them their job. There is something wrong with this picture - we are not prioritising our personal wellbeing. The reality is that mental health is just as important as physical health and it’s time we start acknowledging it.

Here at Haygarth, I am one of three Mental Health First Aiders - alongside Tim and Juliet. Back in February we completed two days of training with the inspiring team at the Mental Health Foundation and since then have started Mental Health Conversations, a movement to talk more about our mental wellbeing at work. We have had an overwhelming response with Haygarthians not only getting behind the importance of understanding more about their mental wellbeing, but also sharing their story to help educate others. So far, we’ve heard very personal stories about the Autistic Spectrum and about Disordered Eating and next month will be talking about mental health in the LGBT+ community. This is just the beginning…

Mental Health Awareness Week was 13th-19th May and alongside one of our inspiring talks, we also shared tips throughout the week to help us all prioritise our personal wellbeing and launched a virtual Mental Health Library on our internal hub. A small but important step to continuing to build a happier, healthier team. Keeping the momentum is important, as the mental wellbeing of our agencies is an ongoing priority and extends far past that week. In support of World Mental Health Day on 10th October, we will be spending the whole month raising awareness of mental wellbeing with more Conversations as well as lots of other activities. We are not only learning from each other but broadening our reach by attending talks outside our network, kickstarted with an incredibly inspiring evening with Minds@Work and Shine Offline a couple of weeks ago. We’re on the lookout for more of these to really help us offer more to our agency.

Sometimes we need a reminder that it’s okay not to feel okay. There is support there for us all, it’s just one step at a time.

Written by Amie Langlay-Smith
Senior Account Manager and Mental Health First Aider