It’s refreshing that it’s feeling increasingly ‘OK’ to talk about mental health in the workplace. There was a time where the stigma attached to mental health was so great that one would rather admit to anything than – heaven forbid – one’s own stress, anxiety or depression. The ghost of the military term ‘lack of moral fibre’ lingered on, long after it had ceased common usage.
Now, with high profile spokespeople and personalities from Stephen Fry to HRH the Duke of Sussex opening up about their own mental health issues, and the challenges they have experienced, as well as the work of organisations such as Mind, Heads Together and the CMHA, we are seeing a more open dialogue on this crucial part of everyone’s health.
It’s about time too. Mental health issues are common. One in four of us will experience a mental health problem each year, according to Mind. As employers, we have a huge responsibility to support our people in all aspects of their health. It is simply not acceptable to neglect mental health.
Here at Joelson we take a holistic approach to health and wellbeing. Mental health is a crucial part of the picture.
We offer our employees access to an EAP (employee assistance programme) with access to a 24- hour confidential helpline to provide them with support. We recognise that our own people may not always want to share their issues with us. For those who want to discuss matters with us we try to let them know that they can be heard and taken seriously. Our Managing Partner runs a drop-in clinic each month where all employees have the opportunity to speak to her about anything whatsoever that is troubling them.
Recognising that the ancient maxim ‘mens sana in corpore sano’ still holds true, we offer fresh fruit every day. Eating well, and exercising, being inextricably linked to good mental health.
We know that a good balance between work and outside-work-life is vital to good mental health, and, with this in mind, we are extending our agile working model across the firm.
In addition, we run training across the firm to develop a shared understanding of diversity and inclusion at work, to highlight that all employees are comfortable and confident in supporting each other no matter what their beliefs, backgrounds or state of health.
Finally, we’re a family-feel firm where two-way communication is encouraged.
All of these are good places to start. But we know we need to work harder to keep the conversation going, and to continue to learn from others, as well as our own people, about how we can do better. We’re still learning and as we look forward to Mental Health Awareness Week, this seems a good time to reflect on where we are, and where we would like to be.
Partner – Employment
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This article is for reference purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be sought separately before taking or deciding not to take any action.
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