· Features

Why mental health matters

Mental health in the workplace is gaining increased interest from employees, employers, the media and HR professionals, but more work needs to be done to break down stigmas and create work environments that promote mental wellbeing.

One in six of us is experiencing a mental health challenge in the workplace at any one time and it is the right thing (both morally and financially) to ensure the physical and mental health of your workforce so that they have a positive environment within which to thrive and perform.

There are a number of organisations and individuals already leading this charge, driven by personal experience of mental ill health. But as someone who has spent 12 years in corporate health management, I think it's fair to say that it still feels like the usual suspects are contributing to this raised awareness.

There are some excellent case studies to be shared and work that has taken place over a number of years with some good measured outcomes. Having said that, it would be great if more realised the value of proactively and positively working with employees to support them in improving their physical and mental health, as well as raising awareness of mental health and how we can all support each other.

Whether a peer, line manager, executive, HR or OH professional, I think we should all feel as comfortable talking about our own and other’s mental health as we do about a broken leg, headache or the flu.

Maudsley Learning is doing its bit to raise awareness, provide information and create opportunities (both face-to-face and online) for people to share their experiences, thoughts and concerns on mental health and wellbeing.

In January, we launched our Mental Health in the Workplace work stream with a webinar and conference focused on how HR professionals can contribute to the development and provision of a supportive workplace environment for their employees and maintain high performing teams.

In November 2014, we launched Maudsley Learning Online, our social learning platform; a repository of world-class information and topic based communities with optional e-learning modules. Due to its importance, we launched with the topic of mental health in the workplace.

In 2015, Maudsley Learning will be building on these events by extending the learning into discussing practical ways of tackling mental health in the workplace. Our conference, on Friday 23 January, will focus on shared learning and case studies and we will focus on preventative strategies, promoting wellbeing, best practice and flexible working.

It will be chaired by the Work Foundation's Stephen Bevan and features Lancaster University professor Cary Cooper, Linda Holbeche of the Holbeche Partnership, BT Group CMO Paul Litchfield, American Express health and wellbeing specialist Georgia Hedley and former Unilever Global VP HR marketing, communications, sustainability and water Geoff McDonald, to name a few.

HR magazine will be supporting this event and the mental health agenda as a media partner. To that end, all HR magazine readers who would like to attend Why Mental Health Matters 2015 – How do Businesses Deal with It? will receive a significant discount.

HR magazine reader discount: Use promo code hrmagazine200 to receive 44% off standard delegate pass (£359+VAT) making them £200+VAT.

Visit WMHM to find out more about the conference. To book using the discount code, visit: WMHM HR magazine discount.