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61: Future of Mental Health at Work: Surprising Trends from the 6th MAD World Summit

We’re diving deep into the future of mental health at work, exploring the key takeaways from the recent MAD World Summit.

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We’re bringing you this episode in collaboration with the MAD World Summit and Make a Difference Media (, the all year around media channel that supports both MAD World and its sister event The Watercooler, which regular listeners will remember us attending in April 2023 (see Episode 37!)

We had the privilege of being the official podcast for the 6th MAD World Summit, where we engaged with numerous business leaders, campaigners, and thought leaders. Through these conversations, we’ve identified six major trends that are reshaping the landscape of mental health in the workplace.

Join the conversation as we explore:

  • Allyship in Action
  • Healing from Trauma
  • Reasonable Adjustments for All
  • Emotional Literacy
  • Individual Well-being
  • Anger in the Workplace

We’re thrilled to welcome to the podcast our 9 expert guests:

More from Make a Difference Media

More from Our Guests on Make a Difference Media

Isabel Berwick on The Great Resignation:

Jeremy Gautrey-Jones on Managing Trauma at Work:

Kimberley’s Lived Experience of Disability:

Francoise on Reasonable Adjustments:

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The Transcript

⚠️ NOTE: This is an automated transcript, so it might not always be 100% accurate!

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Speaker 1 0:00
I got into breathing actually through grief. My girlfriend was diagnosed with terminal cancer and passed away and it was a really challenging time as you can imagine.

Leanne Elliott 0:16
Hello, and welcome to the truth lies and workplace culture podcast, brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network, the audio destination for business professionals. My name is Leanne. I’m a Business psychologist.

Al Elliott 0:26
My name is Al and I’m a business owner.

Leanne Elliott 0:28
We are here to help you simplify the size of people and create amazing workplace cultures.

Al Elliott 0:33
Yeah, and we mentioned we were at the

Leanne Elliott 0:36
Macworld conference. Have we mentioned it at all age now,

Al Elliott 0:40
if you were if you follow us on LinkedIn, you will see we were all over that

Leanne Elliott 0:44
go worm we like to do something useful.

Al Elliott 0:47
Yeah, the quick story is that there was a fire at Luton Airport, which is if you don’t know the UK, Luton is one of the airports outside of London and served by Croatia, which is where we were flying from because we live in Bosnia. And there was a fire and so we woke up about four o’clock on the day was due to fly. Good job on this time, because our flight got canceled. Because of this fire was flying into the airport and all flights were canceled.

Leanne Elliott 1:09
So yeah, it all in all, it just meant them. Fortunately, I wasn’t able to go which was really rubbish.

Al Elliott 1:14
But you made your you made the most of it, though, because you were here and you are on LinkedIn every 30 seconds telling people what was going on, which I think actually helped cause a little bit of a buzz at the event because people coming up to us and going oh, I’ve seen you. I’ve seen you on LinkedIn. So

Leanne Elliott 1:27
So this episode is dedicated to the six MadWorld summit that happened last week on the 12th of October in London. 10. I think that’s what they call it. I don’t know. I’m not from downstairs. I don’t know. But yeah, we are bringing you this episode in collaboration with Mad World Summit and make a difference media, which is the all round media channel that supports both MadWorld and assistant event the water cooler, which you write remember, regular listeners, we attended April this year, make a difference media is well worth checking out as a platform. It is packed with content. It has brilliant webinars report interviews. I personally have been subscribed to their newsletter for about 18 months, and I love it. So much valuable content. And you will also get a sneak peek at the speakers that are already confirmed for the water cooler in April 2024. That’s the 23rd and 24th of April next year. So yeah, do check it out. Have a look. If you’re if you didn’t attend MadWorld, maybe you can attend the watercooler instead. So I will leave a link in the show notes. But do check it out. Go look at their website. It’s make a difference dot media.

Al Elliott 2:33
Yeah. And it’s well worth going to these events because you get to see or hear from lots of different people and all sorts of speakers just mill around as well. So you can talk to them. They’re not like upon well, they are up on stage. So it’s not like they stay on stage you can you can actually go and speak to them. I spoke to amazing people from the BBC, L’Oreal, Bank of England Mental Health First Aid. We had an interview and we’d interview with all of those don’t worry, they’re coming up, calm down, they’re coming up. Alright. We also spoke to Shona Brown who is an England rugby player. We also spoke to the BBC Radio One presenter of the decompresses decompression sessions. Easy for me to say. And that was Stuart Sunday man. We also spoke to the former Premier footballer Clarke Carlisle and his lovely wife, Carrie. And we’ll also be speaking to the amazing Isabel Berek who’s got a podcast of Financial Times podcast called working it. We have so many conversations to bring you over the next few weeks. But for now, we’re just gonna be sharing what we learned about the emerging trends in mental health and well being and what you the listener needs to be no need to know about over the next 12 months.

Leanne Elliott 3:35
Yeah, it is a jam packed episode with some awesome guests that we will introduce you to very soon but before we do, I would like to just say thank you to the team at MadWorld for looking after us again so well, especially co founders Simon Berger and Mark Pigou Global Head of Content, Claire Ferrer and the rest of the event marketing and PR team, including Jasmine Brown, Kate Jeffrey and Suzy Bashford,

Al Elliott 4:00
and a shout out to the man with the coolest beard in the world. It’s our lovely friend Gary helmet oboe, who provided yet again for the fourth time third time running a booth for us to record in that was soundproof and also looked really, really cool. If you want to have a look at that look at LinkedIn on some of the posts that Leon has been sharing. You will see the booth there. If you’re interested in any kind of office furniture, if you’re interested in growing an amazing beard, go and speak to for I think it might be oboe Now I think that both of them will take you to the same place

Leanne Elliott 4:31
for you. So today’s show we are going to be sharing with you what MadWorld is why we went what happened and who we spoke to. We’re gonna go through the future trends that we saw people talking about in terms of workplace culture and wellbeing. We’re also going to talk about maybe why you should come next year and also why should come to the water cooler. Yeah, the events really are so much fun on a more personal level. I guess we met Simon Berger, who’s one of the cofounders of Mad World and the water cooler when we interviewed him for the podcast A while ago I was on a VC. Yeah, I was on the VC funding podcast, one and part two. That’s what I’d say yeah. Speaking to sound we learned that he co founded mad world with his business partner Mark following a death by suicide in the family. And it was really a tragic event. And it made them very, very aware of how significant and severe the impact of mental health can be poor mental health can be. So yeah, I mean, if you’ve listened to last week’s episode, you’ll also know that Al and I have experienced in suicide prevention. So from when we met Simon and taught him more after he was on the show, the more we got to know him, the more we realized that our our mission and our values are aligned. So when he invited us to the water cooler, and subsequently MadWorld, it was a no brainer for us.

Al Elliott 5:49
So let’s go and meet the eight guests who are going to be on the pod today, Lee?

Leanne Elliott 5:53
Yes, our first guest is Shelly O’Connor. Shelly is performance manager, and LGBTQ plus network co chair at the Bank of England.

Speaker 4 6:03
So Shelly O’Connor pronouns she her. And yes, LGBT co chair at the Bank of England. And I’ve been in co chair for a few years now. But I’ve actually been in the bank for 12 years. So I’m a long standing member, shall we say, and my day job, I’m a work in HR. So I’m a performance manager. So the appraisals and review performance and all that fun stuff. I wouldn’t say I’m famous, I suppose on LinkedIn and social media talk a lot about D, E, and AI, and that’s why I’ve been invited to be a speaker at this today’s event. So yeah, I would say, if I’m famous for anything, maybe that

Al Elliott 6:40
then I sat down with Jeremy Godfrey Jones, who’s the Assistant Director of employee experience at RSPCA if you’re from the States, for example. I think it’s called the SPCA over there, all about animals

Leanne Elliott 6:52
Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Al Elliott 6:55
Here’s Jeremy,

Speaker 5 6:56
my name is Jeremy goats Jones. I’m the assistant director employee experience at the RSPCA. I’ve been with the RSPCA for three years. And what I’m famous for, probably within the RSPCA is leading are quite flexible, hybrid working strategy.

Leanne Elliott 7:12
And of course, we were hugely excited to speak with Isabel Warwick, who is the host of the Financial Times is working it podcast.

Speaker 6 7:19
So I’m Isabelle Berek, I have worked at the Financial Times for 22 years, I’ve done a lot of jobs. For the last couple of years, I’ve been a podcast host, and I have a weekly newsletter for our subscribers about the world of work. They both called working it. And it’s about the modern workplace, the future of work, leadership, management, all those things that ft readers are very interested in. And I sat

Al Elliott 7:40
down with Amex Singapore, who had flown in all the way from Zurich, just to talk to me not really flown into the event. But he also managed to speak to me, he is a global business strategy leader for talent transformation at IBM, a small company, you may have heard of them.

Speaker 7 7:53
So yeah, my name is Amex burrow, currently based out of Zurich, Switzerland. So I flew in for this event, and I just yeah, just fascinating to be here. The last 15 years, I’ve basically been spent all my passion is all about helping people transform. So up until 2019, all of that was from an organizational perspective, you know, how do we find the right people, within the right organization, create the right culture, create the right environment to help engage, develop them, so they have a fulfilling career.

Al Elliott 8:21
And as I mentioned before, we spoke to Clark Carlyle and his lovely wife, Carrie, who are the mental health campaigners. They’re married couple who are dedicated to raising awareness for mental health and suicide, and have a really, really personal story.

Speaker 8 8:33
What do we do we share a lived experience around mental health adverse mental health. My personal journey is a recurrent complex depressive disorder that led to multiple suicide attempts. We share that but most importantly, we share from both sides of that lived experience. So Carrie shares the impact that it had on her and our family. And along that, you know, going along with the brutal honesty that we share around the journey, it’s not a sensationalized you know, conversation or delivery. We talk about the practical implications, and the practical applications of what we’ve learned.

Leanne Elliott 9:14
I’ll also had the pleasure of speaking to Francois will a head of mental health and wellbeing at E. Cass.

Speaker 9 9:20
So my name is Francois wooley, I’m head of mental health and wellbeing at a CAS. So essentially, my role has changed quite recently. So for the last three years, I’ve been responsible for developing the mental health and well being strategy internally to support our own staff, and for delivering that. More recently, I’ve been more external facing so I’m actually for a class on behalf of a cast influencing policy debate practice around mental health and wellbeing in the workplace. So I work work closely with other colleagues in a CAS really to try and help develop our guidance to develop our products around supporting mental health in the workplace.

Al Elliott 9:58
I also sit sat down with Kimberly Ward Who’s the financial inclusion and vulnerability leader first direct, which is a division of HSBC bank company’s got an amazing story.

Speaker 10 10:07
My name is Kimberly Ward, I am the financial inclusion and vulnerability lead for first direct bank. And I am famous actually, for the in being the first person in the UK to undergo cochlear implant surgery whilst pregnant. And this is a surgery for someone who is hearing impaired and profoundly deaf. And it is basically embedding an implant inside your skull. To help you hear that surgery is normally done under a general anaesthetic which means you are put to sleep. However, because general anaesthetic is dangerous to a fetus, and I was offered the local anesthetic so quite a terrifying experience.

Leanne Elliott 10:48
And finally, thank you to producer Dean and Jasmine Brown from nourishing we were able to welcome Stuart Sandmann into the podcast pub. I loved it, I lost my shirt when I heard this Dean was like, oh my god, we got to do it. And I was like, what? If you haven’t heard of him, Stewart is a DJ and heard the decompression session on BBC Radio One. He is also co founder of breath pod and a Sunday Times best selling author. His book is called Breathe in, breathe out,

Speaker 1 11:17
I founded a company called Breath pod breath pod is really about giving people the tools to empower themselves. And a big tool that I use is breathing. Writing a book was never on my radar. I avoided writing as much as possible. So even when somebody floated the idea of writing a book, I was like no way that is not happening.

Al Elliott 11:36
So you’ve heard that we spoke to some fancy people, you heard that we had some really good interview interviews and conversations. The question on your lips is probably why do you need to care about this stuff, if you understand that investing in my mental health of your employees is the right thing to do. And I believe that if you’re listening to this, you do. And if you’re also regular listener, you’ll know and also believe that wellbeing means a healthier performance and a healthier bottom line. You will also know that mental health is this complex, multifaceted problem. As business owners and leaders. We’re only human, we get it wrong. So therefore it’s only by like continually learning and challenging ourselves, we can continue to create these amazing workplace cultures that we really want to create. So I’d like to hand over to Carrie Carlyle, who’s going to share a very personal experience that holds valuable lessons for us humans and leaders.

Speaker 11 12:26
Well, this is a cycle. But let’s take it back to 2017 Clark’s last suicide attempt, and I knew it was poorly. But I thought he was depressed because he was telling me he was depressed. And he was telling me so succinctly and like the whole world on the news and stuff that I thought he was telling me the whole story. But he was just telling me the bits he was comfortable. If so actually, Clark was equally depressed and suicidal, but wasn’t comfortable. So he just shut that bit off. And I was like, what he’s communicating, right? He’s communicating all the time. No, it’s not. It’s been selective. So I got that wrong. I took his symptoms. Personally, Claude wanted to sleep all the time, instead of addressing that, oh, this is a medical thing. I took it as this is a personal thing. This is a relationship thing. I took it personally. And I didn’t confront I dismissed and justified and stuff like he didn’t want to sit with me in the same room, he want to make eye contact. And of course, then he disappeared and left me a suicide note. And that was when I had to start saying to myself, I can’t handle this, this is we need to get services involved. Now at the police, we have to get medics involved, he has to go to psychiatric hospital, it’s not about me at all. It’s about a very real illness. So got it horribly wrong on a very public platform and then practice getting away. I think

Leanne Elliott 13:33
poor mental health, depression, feelings of suicide can affect anyone. And even the most successful people, as you know, we’ll see with with Clark and many others can suffer with mental health, it could affect you as well. We all I think have found ourselves in positions in our lives and in our businesses where we’ve known that people aren’t okay, but we’ve not known the full story, we probably would have experienced selective communication as leaders that maybe resulted in a surprise, resignation or period of sickness. We probably also been in a situation as a leader where, you know, we knew something was wrong, but we didn’t confront it, we dismissed it, we justified it. As business owners, it is hard not to take resignations, personally, or you know, to get to the point where you feel lost or overwhelmed by the people and cuts challenges that you’re experiencing in your business. If you employ people, people are your business, and you have to take that responsibility. Seriously. Nobody wants to be a stop on somebody’s downward spiral. So we have to invest in our own mental health in the mental health of our teams of our employees. And if you don’t know how to do that, is Carrie said, engage somebody who does

Al Elliott 14:53
well sadly and well said. So the trends that we’re talking about in this particular episode Where I told you there was gonna be six of them. They are going to be ally ship, we’re going to talk about workplace trauma. And that’s big T little T to make reasonable adjustments. Something which I don’t I hadn’t really thought about before. But certainly as Leanne will point out, emotional literacy for leaders, investing in where individual wellbeing and finally, a very strange one, anger, why are we also angry?

Leanne Elliott 15:23
So our first feature trend is Ally ship, I’m not sure it’ll be a surprise to anybody, that Equity Diversity and Inclusion continues to be at the, you know, near the very top of people and culture priorities as we finish off 2023 and move into 2024. But what really interested us was how this conversation is evolving, we’ll be bringing you an episode soon that will feature leaders from fancy like, I can’t believe we get to talk these people. But yeah, leaders from the BBC, the University of Warwick and NASA. Yeah. So let’s hear from Shelley, who is LGBTQ plus network co chair at the Bank of England.

Speaker 4 16:01
So ERG, employee reference group networks, different people have different names, we call them network staff, networks, colleague networks, and they are the communities that are, you know, an organization that can really make a difference in DNI. So an allies are important. So as I mentioned, I’m co chair of the LGBTQ plus network, and I’m the first ally, co chair of the network, the communities and say, 30 colleagues, in a small organization or a small business, they still have a voice, they still have a different lived experience to the straight white male, in the corporate world. So whether it’s your colleagues of ethnic minority, or people of color, or LGBTQ plus, or women, men, different genders, non binary, like so everyone will have a voice and have different lived experience. So for your organization to thrive, you need to listen to all voices around the table. So the network’s it doesn’t have to be if you’re that small organization has to be a well organized steering group or meetings. It could literally just be one or two people representing that community. Because when you do eventually grow, because most businesses want to grow, you’ve got a starting block to kind of have that safe space for them. Colleagues. Yeah, I

Leanne Elliott 17:17
think it’s a really interesting, unnecessary evolution conversation, I think, because I think when we’ve talked about EDI on the podcast before Are you quite rightly kind of served as a voice for business leaders that might be saying, well, what can I say what can’t I say? It feels like I’m, you know, it’s always in them. And, and I think what ally ship first and foremost is how you how you ensure that you show up for your people, if you’re representing them, but make sure they can show up for themselves. And I think what what’s really interesting about ally ship in organizations, it’s taking employee voice to that next level. Yeah. And

Al Elliott 17:50
I think that for anyone who’s listening to going, Oh, my God, let yet another word that I’m gonna have to learn and learn what it means. You want, yes, you should. But really, it just boils down to just being a decent human being and not being an asshole. And number two is Gen Zed, this, their Gen Zed are all over this. And if you aren’t all over it, then you are not going to be attracting Gen Zed. So it’s so important for a number of reasons just to be a decent human being, but also to continue to be competitive in the workforce and attract the top talent that you know you want. So the second trend is workplace trauma. And I was a little bit surprised to hear this hadn’t really considered it before, but it was quite a theme across a number of our interviews. And it’s definitely a future trend that needs to be on your radar. So we’ll be bringing you a full episode with Dr. Claire Fernandez from the BBC. And our featured guest today Jeremy Gorter. Jones from the RSPCA. But just for now, here’s a snippet of Jeremy explaining why we need it.

Speaker 5 18:46
One of the things we’ve done recently is we’ve introduced trim trauma resource management, which actually supports people who come across traumatic events in their workplace, and it helps them talk about those issues with appear and prevents a spiraling decline in their mental health. We didn’t design it something that exists in the emergency services and was in the military as well. And we’ve taken that idea and brought it into the organization and it’s really popular and working well. It is aimed around people witnessing traumatic events. So I mean, depending, you know, so there are lots of different jobs that that potentially could apply to. So yes, it would encourage any employer who has staff that could witness such events to actually look into trim.

Al Elliott 19:32
It’s not only about trauma as in people who are you know, like in the RSPCA, seeing horrific scenes, we’re talking about all kinds of trauma here. And it’s something which I think we brushed under the carpet, perhaps as leaders of yesteryear, we might be going oh, they’ll be fine. Just grow up stiff upper lip, all that kind of stuff. Well, that’s not gonna cut it anymore.

Leanne Elliott 19:53
I think it’d be interesting as we dive into this a bit more is that there’s trauma with a big team John with a little tea you know, and lawyers that work for organizations like RSPCA will, or the NHS or the police, they will experience traumas with a big team. But there are plenty of other scenarios where people may experience smaller traumas or lighter traumas, traumas, with a little tea, I do think is, you know, the more that work in life come together, the more that they blend, these things are going to need to be a consideration for leaders and it always comes down again, doesn’t it too, if you’ve got a good relationship with people in your team, you can know that these things are going on, we’re not going to have those secrets that were taught to to Bonnie about a few episodes ago on toxic workplace coaches. So yeah, I think trauma is going to be something that that needs to be talked about, for the the little T traumas, and for any organization that is, you know, creating an environment that or has employees that may experience or post trauma, then that is definitely something that that needs to be managed. And I’m really looking forward to learning more about the framework that Jeremy shared.

Al Elliott 20:55
Okay, Lee, and what’s Trend number three,

Leanne Elliott 20:58
Trend number three, anger, which which I don’t know whether it’d be a surprise or not, I think when when you first mentioned this was something that came up was like, as I reflect outside, yeah. But you know, why? Why are people angry? And what can we do to better manage anger? In the workplace, we will be bringing you a much deeper conversation on this with Isabel Berek from the Financial Times working your podcast, and another high profile expert guests on anger that we are currently in talks with, but crush your fingers and toes. I’m pretty sure we will get them on the podcast. So yeah, but for now, let’s hear from Isabel and her view on why anger is one of the biggest issues in the workplace today.

Speaker 6 21:40
What’s the biggest issue in workplaces today. And I would say to you anger, rarely, anger, people are angry that the numbers of people who report being angry at work is rocketing. When we did an episode on anger, it was incredibly popular, I think suppress your anger, whether it’s suppressed or expressed. It doesn’t come directly from the workplace. In many cases, it comes from outside, but the pressures that we’re all feeling in terms of the global economy, society and of the new, the wars that are being fought on two fronts, we are feeling anxious, we are feeling uncertain, we are feeling powerless. And if that is replicated in a workplace, if a lot of people feel powerless in their day to day job, and anger is I think, the emotion that we’re gonna have to learn to manage over the next five years, whether we’re team members or managers.

Al Elliott 22:33
Yeah, I think the when you combine anxiety with powerlessness, which I think is what Isabel said, Well, you didn’t feel like you. You don’t have control over something. And there is so much uncertainty at the moment. God knows that. I mean, as the time recording, there’s like, at least two major wars going on in the world. Prices of everything seems to be doubling every day. And when someone feels that they don’t have control over something, and there’s lots of uncertainty coming. That’s where anger comes from.

Leanne Elliott 23:03
Yeah, I mean, it’s it’s an emotion that is, you know, we’ve all heard the fight and flight, we’ve talked about it before. The anger is the emotion that is attached to that fight. If you’re not leaving your organization, you’re going to grit your teeth and, and try and get through it, there is going to be some negative emotion that comes with that. And one of those could well be anger. And like you say, it doesn’t even have to be about anything you get angry about in the workplace. There’s so much to get angry about right now. Anger is

Al Elliott 23:25
number three, what’s number four? Lee?

Leanne Elliott 23:27
Number four is reasonable adjustments. The so forth trend. From a legal perspective, as a business owner, you’re probably familiar with the term reasonable adjustments, particularly in terms of you employ somebody who has a disability or is perhaps returning to work following an injury. But what about reasonable adjustments in terms of when mental health constitutes as a disability? Employees are getting much more savvy about this, like you said, are the gems that are all over these trends. They know that they are protected by the law. And it’s becoming increasingly clear that businesses need to do more to step up to make sure that they are being compliant, that they are putting in place these reasonable adjustments. And that’s just even in the case of you know, if we look at the physical side of things, in terms of the mental health side of reasonable adjustments, this is a really interesting conversation and one we’re going to hear get louder and louder over the next few months. I followed and use a cast services for years to make sure that both myself and members of my team have got the support that we are legally entitled to. So I was really excited when Francois Willy decided that she would be on the show she is head of mental health and well being at a Cass

Al Elliott 24:40
Yes. I think Leanne really sums it up there perfectly. I’ll leave Francois in a second. He’s going to talk a little bit more about it. The key thing I think to remember is that this isn’t just although a caste does come from the point of view of going look, if you don’t make these adjustments, then as Francois says you have to open your wallet and pay pay the compensation but also what When you do make them, then it just has a direct impact on your bottom line a direct impact on your culture a direct impact on your people. So here’s Francois.

Speaker 9 25:09
And reasonable is a word that’s used in employment law, really. So employers have a legal obligation if someone has a disability, to put in place what’s called reasonable adjustments, to to make sure that that person is not disadvantaged as a result of their disability. So to reduce or remove any kind of barriers for them, really what is reasonable or really depends on the employer. So a large employer is going to have more financial capability to put in certain adjustments than then a smaller kind of an SME. So it’s thinking about, you know, what’s practical, what’s reasonable, what’s financially available, to try and remove that barrier for that individual. So that’s the word reasonable really, employees get really hung up on that kind of what you know, what constitutes a disability. So many people with mental health difficulties, they won’t necessarily think of themselves as having a disability. But under the Equality Act, the definition is that it’s a physical or mental health impairment that has a substantial long term, an adverse impact on someone’s ability to do their day to day activities, what we say a cassis, that actually, irrespective of that diagnosis, if someone is struggling, or if there are adjustments you can put in the workplace that is going to support someone to help them not just stay in work, but thrive at work and produce their kind of best work really, then why would you not do that. So we would recommend that you don’t get too hung up on that kind of definition, really.

Leanne Elliott 26:36
So Francois shared her insights on a panel session that also included Kimberly Ward, whose financial inclusion and vulnerability laid out first direct, we spoke to Kimberly about her own personal experience and how making these reasonable adjustments, as Al said, can not only improve mental health, but can improve employee engagement and be good for business.

Speaker 10 26:55
So I’m here as a speaker today at the Make A Difference conference to talk about reasonable adjustments. And one of I’ve had quite a number of negative experiences in education and working as well, where I have asked reasonable reasonable adjustments, it was simple things like, can you just tell me where you’re going to be standing, just so I know where I can position myself so I can feel included? And that I can hear you? And would you mind, maybe not turning around facing the other way. And someone actually turned around and said to me, I can’t make just adjustments just for you, there’s 40 people in this room, and I didn’t feel my request was out of out, you know, out there, it was just Where are you standing. So I can sit myself in a way that I can be involved. And, you know, that had a massive impact to me and my mental health. So I think one thing that people should really think about is just talking to people, listen, be open. And sometimes you don’t need to say anything at all, it’s just be there hear, and take that feedback on board, and then support that individual in a way that meets their needs, because they will provide that support back to you tenfold. And they will be loyal to you, you know, you can reduce your staff attrition. And when you have a business that has direct customers as well, that has a knock on impact their performance and ability to provide fantastic customer service. And that’s something that we really, really promote in the first time. I think

Al Elliott 28:20
we’ll be hearing much more from Francois and Kimberly a bit later at well, in subsequent episodes. Also, I think we might include the clip about Kimberly’s hairy legs. We’ll we’ll leave that for when we did she did say and I just said we could we could publish it. So I will put that in the next episode. So really, the bottom line is make reasonable adjustments because not only because you have to and it’s against the law if you don’t, but also because like we said before, don’t be an asshole be a decent human being. And look after your people. The fifth of the six trends was emotional literacy for leaders. Leadership is was the key theme and is the key theme in many any mental health conversation. But the fact is now we are now looking much more in terms of leadership and emotional literacy for leaders.

Leanne Elliott 29:05
Yeah, I mean, being emotionally literate means being self aware, recognizing your emotions, recognizing how those emotions affect your behavior. And really crucially, understanding how to manage your emotions. We’re just concluding some research at the moment that’s looked at leadership and really highlighted the importance of emotional literacy when it comes to being effective as a leader. And that’s including people’s willingness to engage with a leader and to follow that leader. Let’s hear more on this trend emotional literacy from amateur to pour out from IBM.

Speaker 7 29:41
The session I did today here was all around thoughts and emotions. Now, when you talk about someone, you know, when you talk about thoughts and emotions, you’re like, Okay, I get it. That’s good. But imagine even if you turn around and look a little bit deeper, it basically adds in to every aspect of your life. Every experience is associated with your thoughts or your mind missions, right? But we’ve never been again told how to basically connect and understand those. So, you know, I grew up in the I was born in 84. So I grew up in a period of time where, you know, from a masculine perspective, everything was supposed to be macho, right? You’re not supposed to show any form of emotion, you’re not supposed to have like, not cry nothing. And I shared an example on stage where you know, where I was playing, you know, we were doing P, obviously, you had to do it once a week. And then you could play different kinds of sports. And in mind, the other ones, I hated rugby, apologized all those rugby fans, right. And I remember that when I told the teacher at the time that I wasn’t feeling comfortable doing this, I got called a pansy in front of everyone, and everyone laughed, right. So these are all again, it’s not to call anyone out. But this is how life works. So as a little kid, as you grow up, and I grew up in a normal family, there’s nothing different about that. But it’s you grew up in a society where you’ve been conditioned, that you’re supposed to be hard, you’re supposed to be fearless. And that’s the masculine figure. And you aspire to do that afterwards, it almost becomes like a thing. And the more you do that, you almost move away from who you really are. So it’s, it’s like going into a wrestling ring and having that persona, and you forget that you’ve got a persona, because you just keep living, or you’re an actor, and you forget your acting. So almost your life becomes a set. And this was interesting, it just carries on, right. And then through my life, I had various other experiences, a lot of them were personal challenges. And again, when I was going through these personal challenges, I don’t know how to deal with them. I had no idea there’s no there’s no book to write on there. So you try your best. And then generally when I tried my best excuse, for worse, right? And then what I did is okay, I, I remember on a particular day, or in particular occasion, I said, you know, I’m going to suppress it because I don’t know how to deal with these things.

Leanne Elliott 31:48
Clark Carlisle had a similar lived experience in this challenge of experiencing emotions, processing emotions, managing emotions, led to multiple suicide attempts. Let’s hear from the former Premier league footballer, Clark Carlisle

Speaker 8 32:04
prior to 2017 Five suicide attempts, you know, bring me to that point. And people say that men are poor communicators or you know, general society, we’re not great communicators, my actions were screaming, that there was something that warranted attention. But because I didn’t know that there was something to be looking for, we dealt with each axe action individually, as though that was the root of the problem. For example, then, you know, I was cyclically going a massive self sabotage self destruct. benders for want of a better word, you know, big drinking benders, 345 days going missing, turn my phone off, and we look straight at the alcohol or alcohol is a problem. So I’ll go to the clinic come out of that I’m sober. But just because there’s no alcohol anymore, it doesn’t mean I’m not still exploding in these, you know, self sabotage behaviors. Now, what I didn’t know was that that was me in a position of overwhelm where I couldn’t manage the emotions that I was trying to suppress. And what I was doing was just expertly avoiding or distracting. So that’s what all my maladaptive coping mechanisms and behaviors were, whether it was drinking, or gambling or playing computer games, or like Carrie said, when I was in those deep throes of depression, it was hypersomnia. I’d sleep for 30 or 40 hours straight. But we’d look at me as though you’re not caught. What are you doing these four, as opposed to looking at the symptoms and saying, Oh, what are they showing us?

Al Elliott 33:41
We’ve covered in some depth before the male mental health or mental health for men. I’m thinking back to Kate Goodship from Langer rock where she’s got an predominantly male workforce, who she’s helping to deal with mental health. Then we go back to the amazing Jim Young and our very, very intimate conversation around about mental health earlier this year. I think that the ANZ told me this stat something about 96% of all footsie CEOs are men. Is that right?

Leanne Elliott 34:13
Yeah, footsie 359 teeth, no, five minutes. So of course, we

Al Elliott 34:17
want to we want to rebalance that. But at the same time, we have to assume now that of these leaders, a lot of them are potentially going to be struggling with mental health. And so how do we ensure that man men’s mental health is top of the agenda?

Leanne Elliott 34:29
Yeah, and I think, you know, emotional literacy is for everybody. But I think you know, what, what the data shows is in terms of suicide rates being much higher amongst men. It is something that I think perhaps male leaders, men need to really think about prioritizing, because it it kills it’s killing the men in our lives, as you know, Carrie and Clark explained so. So candidly, I think as well when we think about you know, the, the prevalence of men in leadership roles. And we think about our other trends as well about ally ship, about anger, building emotional literacy will help with both of these things. It will help people process anger in a more functional way away from the workplace in a way that isn’t detrimental to teams, it will help men and other members of majority communities show up I think, yeah, you can say it’s emotional intelligence. But I think it’s slightly different. It’s not so much about understanding others. It’s about understanding yourself. And that is a really great, great place to start.

Al Elliott 35:34
Yeah, we were doing a follow up episode with Ahmed about him about emotional literacy, but also how suppressing these feelings can really impact your mental health. And it creates this sense of loneliness. So look out for the episode we’re coming up soon. And I’m going to call it the lonely leader because it’s, it’s unlimited. So Trend number six is individual wellbeing. We’ve always thought about well being. But I think that we’ve tended to come at it from the honest podcast from a point of view of organizational well being and and we’re starting to now narrow down and talk about individual well being,

Leanne Elliott 36:08
I think we are bullish on on well being and looking at well being from an organizational level, because we know that this systemic change is the only thing that will improve overall mental health and well being will eliminate burnout will create a society, businesses organizations in which people thrive. The thing is, we can invest in our own individual well being our own resilience as much as we like. But if we’re going back to a toxic workplace again and again and again, that individual resilience ain’t gonna make much difference. That said, Now these organizational level conversations are being had and change is starting to happen. We need to make sure we don’t lose focus on the equal importance of individual well being, we need to take accountability for investing in that

Al Elliott 36:55
Absolutely, we’re gonna be bringing you a new special episode on how to build individual well being as a business owner, leader, or eyelas employee over the next few weeks, featuring all the senior leaders from HSBC Pepe health and all the other people we mentioned before. Just today is a little bit of a sort of a teaser, we’d like to introduce you to Stuart sandeman, who’s BBC Radio One DJ and the host of the decompression sessions. He has this incredibly moving story about how he discovered breathwork, and how it can help as a powerful coping mechanism.

Speaker 1 37:26
And I got into breathing actually through grief. My girlfriend was diagnosed with terminal cancer and passed away. And it was a really challenging time as you can imagine. And I didn’t find breathing at that time, I didn’t really have many coping mechanisms. But when she passed away, one thing that amazing that happened, I took my mom for Mother’s Day to breathe in class. That’s as far as I thought about breathing, I’d spent my life too busy to breathe, there’d be no performer music, I worked in finance. And so I’d kind of jumped from a few things before that I was quite heavily involved in sport when my girlfriend passed away. And I was in a bad headspace. Breathing came across breathing. So it’s so simple, that thing we do all day every day. And it literally changed my whole outlook. It was like the light bulb switched on, I had a very powerful experience fell out that the weight of grief was pulled off me. But it also felt like my girlfriend was there holding my hand saying this is exactly where you need to be, which is very strange, very weird, very wonderful, very helpful, but also left me with more questions and answers. So that’s where I set off on this journey around breathing and breath. What just happened in this session? Why haven’t I been looking at breathing before? If this is the one thing that keeps us alive? Why was I not looking at breathing as a tool to manage myself throughout my life, whether that was sport, whether that was creatively with music, whether that was being in a busy office when I worked in finance. So that’s what got me into breath and breathing. And I think for many practitioners or many people, when you find something that impacts you so heavily and so you find something that helps you transform so much because it wasn’t just grief. That was like the the onion layer that peeled off. I felt like obviously worked through grief and I was sleep got better and my energy improved. I started to realize deeper aspects of myself the way I’ve been living the way I’ve been thinking the way I’ve been operating the reactive states that I do in was in my deeper kind of belief systems from my past. So I start to really kind of uncover and change in a positive way.

Al Elliott 39:41
Okay, as a quick recap, then the future trends we talked about, first of all, was ally ship. Secondly was workplace trauma, remember big T little T? Then we talked about reasonable adjustments and how that is now moving into the mental health arena. We talked about emotional literacy for leaders. We talked about investing in individual well being and finally we talked about how And in actual fact, just to confuse you, I think we did that in a slightly different order. But you have to go back and go back and listen again. And that will help us with our, with our download figures.

Leanne Elliott 40:10
Yeah, so we will be bringing you more detailed conversations on these future trends over the next few weeks. And you’ll be hearing so much more from the incredible guests that we featured today alongside other people that we met at the Mad World Summit, including England rugby player Shona Brown, just a boxer from Mars, and Malcolm staves from L’Oreal. I’m very disappointed that Al did not ask the final question I put on the sheet from Malcolm which is how do we get signed up to that PR list for Skincare Makeup?

Al Elliott 40:39
You know, I did say to Malcolm that I’ve got that joke I want to say because you’re worth it. But then he looked at me was such a death stare. And he said don’t closer Okay, is the I’m not the first person to try and crack that joke. So he didn’t seem in the mood for me to ask for a load of free stuff for you. So sorry about that.

Leanne Elliott 40:55
Kind of fair enough. We’ll, I’ll drop Malcolm an email. That’s fine. Look at Malcolm. Do check out the show notes. As always, you’ll find links to our guests you will find links the Mad World Summit and make a difference media. You’ll also find additional links from make a difference media with more conversations from some of our guests today and others in the future. If you weren’t able to attend MadWorld summit and you are experiencing like I was last week some serious FOMO Don’t worry, we’ve got you registration for the water cooler happening on the 23rd and 24th of April 2024 is now open is happening at the XL in London. And you might even see us there

Al Elliott 41:34
yes, you may well see us there and but you will definitely see us next week for a another episode where we’re gonna be talking more in depth about some of these things we’ve talked about today. So if you’re not registered, registered isn’t the word if you’re not subscribed, then click on Registration on the mind with all these all these shows. If you’re not subscribed, click subscribe please and if you would feel like leaving a review and we’d love a five star review and owl is amazing. The hands okay. You know he has to have someone to bounce off the prize. Just a suggestion for your review. Bye for now.

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