The Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing in England found that “1 in 6 people aged 16+ had experienced symptoms of a common mental health problem, such as depression or anxiety, in the past week”, a google search for Mental Health will bring up 865 million results in less than a second. At Nine Feet Tall, as a team we are empowered to shape the organisation and use actions to play our part in building a culture that destigmatises and invests in mental health.
What we do
Coming out of lockdown, we knew our wellbeing focus needed to prioritise mental health and social wellbeing to address issues of burnout, isolation, and anxiety around the pandemic. As a people-focused organisation our culture suffered when our teams couldn’t be together in person and that brought focus to our initiative How Are You (HAY).
In April, as part of stress awareness month, we all had the opportunity to attend training on mental health in the workplace from Mind. This investment of time (just under 90% of our people for half a day each) is just one way we live our value of People Focus.
As someone to experiences anxiety, I struggle to articulate why this is so important to me, to work for an organisation where I feel able to be open about my experiences. Perhaps it’s the fact that by reducing the stigma, it allows me and my colleagues to feel less afraid of being honest about our feelings, which in turn reduces anxiety. As Lencioni’s High Performing Teams model demonstrates, trust is the base of the pyramid, a fundamental for connection and growth. Actions do speak louder than words, so my Wednesday morning was brightened by the feeling of pride when my colleagues felt able to be so open about their personal experience.
But it wasn’t just me who felt this way, one colleague said;
“Over and above the learned content my biggest take away is the openness and trust that people had in the group. Rather than just being told I can now see that this is a safe and trusting space to discuss things mental health.”
The training we received from Mind covered an outline of the different mental health problems, the managerial role in building positive and supportive cultures at work, how to build resilience and support people in the workplace and how to develop skills to look after yourself while supporting others. According to the Mental Health Foundation “there is strong evidence that workplaces with high levels of mental wellbeing are more productive. Addressing wellbeing at work increases productivity by as much as 12%.” More information can be found here.
Through HAY we regularly share tips and signposts to articles or organisations, and we proactively create Wellness Action Plans which help us identify and remember our triggers and coping mechanisms. We have fortnightly catch up calls just to chat to each other, volunteer days for giving back and wellness and benefits through our Perkbox Hub or Aviva Health Insurance that can help us, now and in the future.
Shaping a culture of openess and trust takes time, dedication and commitment. If you want to find out more about how to shape yours then we’d be more than happy to help. Contact us here