Join 20,000 listeners every month who get expert insights on building amazing workplace cultures!
This Mental Health Awareness Month, we’re guiding you through a triple defence approach to protecting employee mental health and building resilient workplaces.
To help, we’re joined by three incredible expert guests.
Amy is Award-winning Workplace Health, Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategist and Consultant. She coaches organisations of all sizes, putting into place evidence based, measurable and sustainable strategies which are as innovative as they are effective. She was also a Non-Executive Director of Mental Health First Aid England.
Andrew is Head of Workplace Well-being at Mind, a charity that for 70 years, has been committed to making sure that everyone experiencing a mental health problem is treated with the respect they deserve and has access to the support they need. Andrew oversees a department of 30 committed to supporting employers create mentally healthy workplaces through changes in their policy, practice and culture.
Michael is a Workforce digital mental well-being specialist at Kooth Work. Kooth Work’s digital products help wellbeing leaders to Understand, Support and Improve the mental health of their workforce, and is is available to 15.9 million people across the UK.
Join the conversation as we explore:
- The business and legal case for mental health strategy
- Strategy V Tactics
- A triple defence approach to shape your strategy
- Reclaiming your purpose as a leader
- How you can raise awareness
- How to empower your line managers
- The competitive advantage of early intervention
Now is the time to reimagine our approach to mental health in the workplace, and create a strategy that has a measurable impact on our people and our business. We’ve got this.
All the links mentioned in the show.
Connect with Amy:
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/amy-mckeown-b569a5b/
- Website: https://amymckeown.com
- Training: https://amymckeown.com/course
Connect with Andrew:
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrewberrie/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/AndrewBerrie
- Mind: https://www.mind.org.uk/
Connect with Michael:
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-brazier-3312583/
- Kooth Work: https://work.kooth.com/
- Mind Well-being Index: https://www.mind.org.uk/workplace/workplace-wellbeing-index/
Kooth Work Flourish Research:
Well-being, Productivity and Happiness at Work
Connect with your hosts
- Connect with Al on LinkedIn
- Connect with Leanne on LinkedIn
- Join the discussion about this episode on LinkedIn
- Email: podcast@TruthLiesandWork.com
- Follow us on Instagram @truthlieswork
- Chat with us on Twitter @truthlieswork
- YouTube channel for the podcast @TruthLiesWork
- Check us out on TikTok (LOL!!!) @truthlieswork
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⚠️ NOTE: This is an automated transcript, so it might not always be 100% accurate!
Join 20,000 listeners every month who get expert insights on building amazing workplace cultures!
Speaker 1 0:00
but most of what we see in terms of well being is not strategy. It’s tactics. And actually so it’s about putting some strategic thought you only know if something’s had impact or working if you had a goal in the first place, and you’re measuring whether you’ve achieved it or not.
Leanne Elliott 0:19
Hello, and welcome to the truth lives and workplace culture podcast, brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network. What is it the audio destination for business professionals? We are here to help you simplify the science of people and create amazing workplace cultures. My name is Leanne. I’m a Business psychologist.
Al Elliott 0:36
My name is Al I’m a business owner, and welcome. Hello. Hello, hello. Yes, it was mental health week. Is it mental health week or month?
Leanne Elliott 0:44
Well, it’s birth. It’s Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK and Mental Health Awareness Month in the US
Al Elliott 0:51
when we were at the war school. Yes, we mentioned the watercolor again, we’re the watercolor event. A couple of weeks ago, we spoke to a lot of really cool people who are around mental health because the whole event is kind of around well being a mental health, isn’t it?
Leanne Elliott 1:01
Yeah, it really is. It really is. So we wanted to bring you some of those conversations as we promised, and also contribute to the conversation around mental health awareness. It’s happening in the UK and in the US at the moment. If you’re not sure what mental health awareness week or month is, it is an annual event, and the United by really a focus on helping people achieve a good mental health. So it’s a good time for us to have the conversation, tackle the stigma. And we need to find out how we can create a society and workplaces that prevent mental health problems from developing. You’ve probably seen well loads in your feed this month about various wellbeing interventions. And we’re here to guide you through the various tiers of wellbeing support, and perhaps explore the least talked about interventions that supports employee mental health. And that is, of course, workplace culture. So to help us do that, we are joined by three incredible guests. Now before we
Al Elliott 1:55
meet our guests, just take a moment we take 90 seconds to tell you about a another podcast on the network that we’re really enjoying right now. Okay, so these three guests, our first guest is Amy McCowan, one of my favorite people we met at
Unknown Speaker 2:06
the watercooler a bit flirty when I was
Al Elliott 2:09
a little bit I did find myself
Leanne Elliott 2:10
I think I’m blaming her. She was getting flirting with you.
Al Elliott 2:14
She’s just she’s just so much fun and just doesn’t take itself too seriously even though she said that she’s pretty incredible. So she’s an award winning workplace health, mental health and well being strategist and consultant. She coaches organizations of all sizes, and she puts into place evidence based and measurable and sustainable strategies which are as innovative as they are effective. She’s also a non Executive Director of Mental Health First Aid, England. So let’s go meet Amy. So
Speaker 1 2:38
my name is Amy McEwen. I’m famous for wearing bright colors and jumping up and down. Vote seriously. I have been in health, mental health and well being for 20 years. I am a dinosaur as you can tell. I have spent my 20s running a mental health tech startup at completely the wrong time, given that Facebook didn’t exist and no one was talking about mental health but I managed to put it up and running in public sector organizations. I ended up at Ernst and Young to do something in digital health, which was what my master’s is in, but then set up and ran their mental health network and then wrote and implemented a UK health and mental health strategy. And since I had children, I am now an independent consultant. Clients have ranged from footsie 100 retailers global strategies, I wrote the parliaments mental health strategy, but I think will be interesting to your listeners hopefully is a lot of my clients are SMEs. So I’ve got an organization of 50 people, 20 people 60 people where I work with them helping to put in place health and mental health that is not a load of Wofully wellbeing fluff and they will actually make a difference. Very excited
Leanne Elliott 3:45
to have me on the podcast. She has such incredible insights. Our next guest is Andrew Berry, Andrew is head of workplace wellbeing at mind, a charity that for more than 70 years has been committed to making sure that everyone experiencing a mental health problem is treated with the respect they deserve, and of course has access to the support they need. Andrew oversees the department 30 that is committed to supporting employers create mentally healthy workplaces through changes in their policy, practice and culture. Let’s hear more from Andrew and the work he doesn’t mind
Speaker 4 4:16
mind is a mental health charity operates in both England and Wales. And for the last 75 years, we’ve been fighting for mental health in the workplace. That’s what I do in the workplace while being teen but also across all kinds of settings and society for everyone in society. And our main mission is to really ensure that everybody gets support and respect regardless of who they are and what that setting is whether or not that is trying to hold government to account and to do better. And looking at policies that can look to improve life for people with poor mental health started, for example around statutory sick pay or looking at benefits, for example, or if that’s in the delivery of services.
Al Elliott 4:54
And finally, we’re thrilled to welcome Michael brazier to the podcast Michael is a workforce digital mental wellbeing specialist at couth work now cuse works digital products are designed to help wellbeing leaders to understand and support and improve the mental health their workforce is available to 15 point 9 million people across the UK very impressive. So let’s go hear more about couth work and their preventative approach
Speaker 5 5:18
everybody like myself, my colleagues, Keith work, and the well being leaders we work with, somehow we need to try and put in some early interventions in there. Because we can all try and provide fixes at the end. You know, there’s great support through API’s and great resources out there to help people who are actually going through a mental health crisis and that kind of that kind of cure side. But I think where we need to really focus our energy now is on prevention and early intervention.
Al Elliott 5:51
So before we dive into mental health awareness, and meet all our amazing guests, let’s start off with our regular feature. It’s the new roundup Do you have a jingle? Okay, it’s what it
Leanne Elliott 6:03
got me Yeah, but any word? Lovely, new word out
Al Elliott 6:12
I feel like I always have to keep keep saying it back to rust out is rust out like peace out, rust out and drop like iron bar.
Leanne Elliott 6:19
There’s not much peace associated with rust out that’s for sure. So yeah, rust out a new word that has been tucked in the very much in the realm of employee mental health was there as has some of the symptoms of burnout, such as a loss of interest or personal meaning in the job, which of course impacts engagement, performance and mental health. But roster is the opposite of burnout. So it’s when work is monotonous, and employees feel underutilized or under stimulated in their positions. So in April of this year, a survey of over 1000 us knowledge workers by a company I do like is a company that ran this year is called you know, I like Mm hmm. You have to say with that tone, I think but anyway, they did a survey of 1000 knowledge workers in the US and found that 67% said they had experienced restart all or some of the time in the past year. And 72% said they have laughed or would leave a job from feeling rushed out.
Al Elliott 7:22
Can I just stop because I still don’t know what it means. Give me an example of what what Rasta? Well, how I
Leanne Elliott 7:27
know when like burnout is like you’ve got can be very stressed overstimulated. So burnout is from like sustained stress for long periods of time, where it was rusted out is just sustained dissatisfaction with your job. Basically, you’re just not interested anymore. It’s not stimulating. It’s not exciting anymore.
Al Elliott 7:46
So it’s kind of like the opposite end. So if I was doing a really stressful job, if I was brain surgeon, then I could get burnout. If I was just typing up all the results of the brain surgeons surgery, and it was just really boring or not. And if I might get Rostow exactly got it. Sorry, carry on.
Leanne Elliott 8:03
No, quite right to clarify. So yeah, that is wrist out. That is what the survey found a lot of people what more than two thirds of people are experiencing at the moment would leave their job because of it. And what’s interesting, there is no link between remote or in office work. It was much much the same in terms of people experiencing restarts. But younger workers as with burnout, interestingly, younger workers are particularly sensitive to feeling underutilized or under stimulated and in fact, 80% would leave or have left a job because of it. Interesting. So
Al Elliott 8:32
what else we got there?
Leanne Elliott 8:33
Well, Elon Musk is losing his shift again. So Elon Musk has called working from harm, morally wrong, and referred to workers in Silicon Valley’s technology industry as laptop classes living in La la la. Wow. So his point was that the remote working was unfair on those people that had to commute because of their jobs, such as like builders, or mechanics or delivery drivers. And he basically said that remote work is and this is a quote, the fake Marie Antoinette quote, let them eat cake. You’re going to work from how I make everyone who made your car come to the factory, is that same Marley? Right, that’s messed up? Yeah, I think if you unpack this a little bit, it’s like, Elon, feeling morally outraged by inequity in the workplace doesn’t seem to be kind of on brand. But encouraging people to still buy the cars to commute to work feels maybe more of a motivation that if I’m being skeptical,
Al Elliott 9:30
well, if we flip fast forward or reverse about at about 110 years, then I if I’ve remembered it, right then Henry Ford, it basically invented the five day work week, because he wanted people to go out and enjoy the weekends so they could buy his cars. And so it sounds like the same thing. He’s going, Elon saying, Well, why don’t we just go back to commuting to work? Oh, and by the way, I have a few cars that I can sell you in order to commute. So yes, it’s probably it’s probably a very it’s a very strange thing for him to say but right Strange man,
Leanne Elliott 10:00
it is strange. He argues it’s a productivity issue and a moral issue that people should quote, get off their goddamn moral high horse with this bullshit, because they’re asking everyone else to not work from home while they do it wrong. He’s got a point in that we are thinking we do need to think about how we can create flexibility for people who do have to work in a specific place or in a specific service. So he’s right, that is a consideration there are there is work being done to build in that flexibility. So yeah, I’m not I’m not sure that Elon is really the man of the people. He’s trying to be here. But yes, there you go.
Al Elliott 10:39
Okay, well, thank you Ilan, what else we got Leah.
Leanne Elliott 10:42
So finally, I came across some research this week that I thought was quite interesting and quite topical for episode. So a research team wrote in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, that they undertook a matter review looking at evidence from existing reviews of studies into the effectiveness of exercise in treating symptoms of depression and anxiety. Interestingly, they did find that exercise can reduce symptoms, to a similar extent as medication or therapy, or find which the research is quite rightly argue, could suggest the exercise is a mainstay approach for treating these types of conditions. Interesting.
Al Elliott 11:19
I heard him, I heard that maybe it was about the 1800s. There was a story about a time I supposed to be psychologists, psychiatrists, and and when you went to visit him back, then he would say, Okay, what I want you to do is when you come back, or when you when you leave, just count how many chimney pots there are, when you’re walking home, on your way home. And the whole point of that was that he got people to look up. And they felt better when they left his office. And he did all the things like he’d say, Okay, I want you to go out and your Your only task this week is to go and find a horse, find some large water, in fact, something else. Again, he wasn’t, he wasn’t going to find these things that make them happy, it was a fact they’re out and exercising and doing stuff. So that’s really cool.
Leanne Elliott 11:57
Yeah, it is interesting exercise may be as effective as therapy or medication. But we should remember, of course, and the research, he did make a point of this, we need to bring patients into the conversation as to what type of treatment is best for them. And this is likely to be a better approach than simply replacing medication or therapy with a prescription for yoga.
Al Elliott 12:16
Okay, so let’s get back into our episodes. So as we know, may in the US is mental health month, this year’s theme is around, look around look within, which is that kind of like tagline. And it’s reminding us that many factors in the workplace come into play when it comes to mental health conditions. Now, the problem is that a lot of sort of mental health or wellbeing interventions come in this sort of this. The idea of the I think it’s Employer Assistance Program was what Yep. And so you have things like mindless mindfulness at lunch, or counseling or free gym memberships. But this is, again, like the online version of just putting a, you know, a pool table in the break room is great. But there’s so much more that leaders can do to build environments in which employees feel like positive mental health, and they actually thrive. And that’s what we’re talking about today.
Leanne Elliott 13:02
Yes, and one of the core aims of mental health awareness is to explore how we can create a society that prevents mental health problems from developing and protect our well being, we spend roughly a third of our life at work. In fact, the average I was lucky, the average person will spend 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime. Wow, for a lot of hours. So as business leaders, as earners, we really do have a fundamental role to play in protecting mental well being. And when it comes to protecting mental well being, there are three lines of defense are just like in risk management. You’re you’re familiar with the risk management framework, right? Sure. If you’re not, if you shouldn’t be familiar with this, although it is very, very prevalent, particularly in in corporate, but I’m sure there’ll be many small businesses that will will know this framework as well. So when it comes to risk, the first line of defense is formed by managers and staff who are responsible for identifying and managing risk, and then collectively should have the necessary knowledge, skills, information and authority control the risk. So this is the first line of defense the people on the ground. The second line defense of functions that oversee or specialize in compliance or the management of risk. So they are the people that pride the policies of frameworks or tools and the techniques that might be in it, you know, in this analogy, like your HR department. The third line of defense is functions that provide independent assurance. Hello, expert providers and auditors.
Al Elliott 14:30
Just explain three give me an example of a three might be
Leanne Elliott 14:34
so three is people like us would go into an organization. Hello, Hi, I’m Ron a wellbeing audit to see how people are doing and then suggested recommendations to enforce the first line of defense. So the people on the ground like your line managers, how they support their employees with mental health, or the second line of defense, the people in HR that are creating the policies and the frameworks and tools.
Al Elliott 14:55
That kind of makes sense to me. And so from what I’ve learned from you, Leanne, can And you’re saying that the approach to wellbeing in the workplace should be kind of the same thing. So in this episode, we’ll be sharing with you how you can build these three lines of defense to protect their employee mental health. Remember, as we’ve heard before, from our experts, there is no silver bullet that very rarely is for anything. An effective well being strategy will look different from like the smaller organization with 12 people to IBM with 250,000 people. And of course, it’s also dependent dependent on like the history, the goals, the objectives, all that kind of stuff. But we can look at the categories of interventions that you can choose from, to meet the needs of your people. So shall we start at the beginning? My question I always asked you on all of this is, why should we even bother?
Leanne Elliott 15:42
Scary, it’ll be fine. What’s the worst that could happen? Well, you might not care about mental health, you might not care about the mental health of employees, you might be that skeptic that thinks, oh, everyone’s got a mental health problem just because we talk about it more. Or you might think that you carry an appropriate amount in terms of the salary and benefits that you offer. I would like to handle this question. If I could go over to Andrew, who is our head of workplace whelming at mind, he explained to me a very clear business case, and actually a very clear legal case, for investing more and doing better when it comes to employee mental health. Here’s
Speaker 4 16:17
Andrew, we’ve seen significant improvement over the last five years or so in terms of organizational adoption of mental health and well being as a key agenda item to some extent that came from the thriving of work review, which was published in 2017. It was commissioned by Theresa May, many governments ago. And Britain by a Paul Farmer and Lord Dennis Stevenson, Paul Farmer being my former CEO. But it really set out a series of recommendations for government and a series of ways in which any organization of any size could really look to make improvement. But it also set out the economic case. And it was really one of the kind of foremost largest actual evidence base that set out a real business cost to employers of not investing in mental health and well being, which is currently 53 to 56 billion for anybody listening. It’s not an insignificant cost. And that’s your absenteeism, staff turnover. presenteeism lost productivity. But that document really did have a change, for how employers look to adopt good practice. What I will say is that there’s significant recommendations that have not been enacted by government. Some element of that is the extent to which there have been changing governments since that report was published. And whilst we have seen increased adoption, the conversations that we often have now with government and with employers, is that we see an increasing number of employers looking to raise the ceiling that wants to do better and better and better. But there are still a large number of employers across the country. And it’s not specific to any size or sector, but that are doing the bare minimum. And I think the conversation that we’re often having with government at the moment is how do we look to raise the floor, because there is already this momentum, there is a number of people that recognize the cost of poor mental health that wants to make those improvements. But there is a subset of those organizations who do not want to do anything, do not recognize that as their responsibility, I think it is an individual responsibility. And we do need to find a way whether it’s through regulation, or enforcement or anything else, looking to improve the experience for those employees. And some of that is unfortunate what is already in place. So many people do not realize that there is already a statutory requirement to do a stress risk assessment. That is a requirement of HSC. The vast majority of organizations in the UK would not realize that and do not have that in place. But it’s not something that’s particularly enforced. Michael agrees
Leanne Elliott 18:47
that investing in positive physical and mental health is good for everybody, and offers some insights from couth works, research
Speaker 5 18:55
is beneficial to everybody to support positive mental health and improve mental health. You can’t operate a workforce if people are way sick, absent. Is company here called good shape who we know well. They’ve got some really intriguing data, they track reasons for absence and mental health is right up there. And actually, they’ll tell you, if you look more into detail about why people are off sick, you know, with an ailment, you know, then they don’t have a stomach bug. They’re dealing with something that is really personal to them. It’s affecting their ability to work. So if you want to maintain, you know, from a purely financial perspective, productivity or if your organization or a more humanistic approach, which we’re all humans and we all have emotions, and many leaders are very in tune with this. If you just want to see the humans that work in your business I’m happy. It makes sense in so many different ways.
Al Elliott 20:05
Of course, you know, I think we’ve all done it. We just don’t feel like going into work. At some point, we ring up and go, Oh, I’m sorry, I’ve got stomach ache or something like that. It’s not that it’s something a little bit more deeper than that, isn’t it sometimes?
Leanne Elliott 20:16
Yeah, it often it often is. And I think what Andrew said that was really interesting as well, it is a legal requirement for organizations to conduct a stress risk assessment. That’s the HSE management standards that that are in place. And I’m I’m not sure I’ve ever come across an organization, particularly small business that actually has that in place already.
Al Elliott 20:35
So that’s the business case putting it together. So let’s go into the first line of defense defense this primary level, can you explain to me what it all means?
Leanne Elliott 20:43
Yes, so the various lines of defense to explain that we’ll be taking you through the psychological wellbeing intervention framework. And that was presented by Sheena Johnson Fun fact, my former lecturer at Manchester Business School. Along with Ivan Robertson, and the infamous Kara Cooper in their book wellbeing, productivity and happiness at work. It is a real Bible for any people and culture practitioner. And as always, I will leave a link in the show notes. So the psychological wellbeing intervention framework talks about primary, secondary and tertiary levels of intervention. And of course, a good wellbeing strategy is going to include all three. So the first line defense is the primary level intervention. This is aimed at enhancing the work situation. So to improve the impact of the work environment on individuals, that can include things like job redesign, culture, change, flexible working, work life balance policies, so basically all the organizational level interventions. Now this is challenging for organizations, because typically, it does mean making fundamental changes to how your employees work, how your business operates. And there may be resistance from within the organization, because it might mean that people need to take on different priorities or different responsibilities. But it like that old saying goes, isn’t it anything worth having doesn’t come easy. And in fact, if it’s taken seriously with a commitment, as always from the senior leadership team, primary level interventions have the most impact. But the question, of course, is always where do you start? How do you know if your strategy will have impact? We asked our guest AIMIM, who, as you heard earlier, wrote and implemented the well being strategy for the EU parliament.
Speaker 1 22:22
Well, I guess it’s not really about knowing where they’re gonna go wrong. I guess the question is, is what you’re doing having any impact, right? So I mean, cuz I am a dinosaur. I spent the first decade no one was talking about mental health, like it was a challenge to get organizations to talk about stress, let alone anxiety and depression, right. So but now we’ve gone to like, you can’t open your you can’t open a newspaper without somebody talking about mental health, usually Prince Harry, but you know, any celebrity will do people you know, it’s kind of it’s the thing. But we’ve learned well being like we are sat at a well being exhibition. In a conference, this would not have happened 10 years ago. The trouble is, is that everyone’s plowed into it with very well intentions and good. But there’s a lot of thought about what you’re trying to do as an organization. When I work with people, they’re either starting out on a rabbit in headlights, because there’s so much going on. They don’t know what to do, or they’ve done some stuff. But it’s kind of like throwing paint at a wall. Like we’ll just put stuff in and hope it sticks. So you don’t really know whether you’re doing it wrong, I guess the question to ask is, what are you trying to achieve? And what impact has it had? The first question I ask anybody I’m working with is what are we talking about health, mental health well being? What does that mean for you and your organization? And actually, the word strategy, right strategy in itself means having a goal, an actionable goal that you can then work towards, right, most of what we see in terms of well being is not strategy, it’s tactics. And actually, so it’s about putting some strategic thought you only know if something’s had impact or working if you had a goal in the first place. And you’re measuring whether you’ve achieved it or not like this
Al Elliott 24:00
is not strategy as tactics. And this is what Leanne always says, I think, which says, sticking a pool table in the break room as a tactic, not a strategy. So she also explained that it’s not just enough just to have this strategy, but you need to kind of live by it, need to role model the desired behaviors and embed the strategy into the operations
Speaker 1 24:19
is the thing that frustrates me the most are you’ve put in a really good strategy, but then you’re still measuring people on their targets. Or if you miss your targets, you know, or you’ve got senior leaders who think that they’ve created a well being on mental health strategy for everybody else in the organization other than themselves, because obviously, as a senior leader, you don’t have mental health or well being. And so actually, the behaviors that you’re role modeling are completely different to what you’re rewarding everybody else to do. A big part of what we talk about is about how you make it really clear what you’re doing and how and how that fits together. But you also then wrap that into performance management, and you measure people based on the behaviors you’re trying to drive and your well being strategy. Otherwise you are just wasting your time.
Leanne Elliott 24:59
Andrew awesome. I believe that role modeling behaviors is essential in driving business and culture change, including policies relating to flexible working and work life balance.
Speaker 4 25:09
So the first thing that any manager any senior leader can do to try and foster that culture of openness is to role model good behavior. So again, if your employees are working long hours, and they don’t feel that they’re able to say, I’m struggling, or I need to have some work life balance, or I need to set some boundaries, you being really clear about what your own boundaries are leaving work at a good hour, not sending emails at ridiculous o’clock, is going to set that environment in which it’s made clear that there is a priority on mental health and wellbeing as a starting point, equally, and we did see this a lot during the pandemic managers and senior leaders feeling that they’re able to share their own experience of poor mental health or where they’ve struggled, or just tips and techniques that they use themselves, in supporting their own mental health and well being is something that again, kind of opens up the conversation. So you can say, you know, and again, it doesn’t need to be speaking about mental health problems specifically. But it can be me talking about how, and again, this appears in our wellness Action Plan Guidance. And I’ve worked on many webinars at this point. But again, how every morning I during the pandemic, and even now kind of hybrid working, I’ll go for a fake commute. So I’ll leave the flat, or walk around the block for like, 1520 minutes, I’ll grab a takeaway coffee, I’ll come back to the flat. And it puts me in the mindset that I’ve never come into work and that have not just come back to my bedroom and rolled out of bed and gone to a desk. And that is a really helpful boundary for me between my home life and my work life.
Leanne Elliott 26:40
So primary level interventions are things like job design, flexible working, work life balance policies, its policies, but it’s not enough to have the policy in place. As a leader you need to live it you need to role model those behaviors. I remember talking to a leader, I think it was actually the watercooler as well. He said that I always leave work at five o’clock, I’ll sometimes need to do an hour or so at home. But the important thing is my employees see me get up and walk out the door at five o’clock. Because then they know they can to and against sharing your your own experiences I’ve heard, you know some organizations say oh, we’ve got great EAP program, but nobody accesses it. Or maybe you access it and talk about your experience you’ve had. And I think this is where it’s really bringing these primary level interventions to life that probably and probably for legal reasons the majority of organizations have, but are they being brought to life or they’re being lived within the organization. Another intervention in the primary level is culture change. And it’s actually one of the most prevailing primary interventions. And this is what we specialize in at oblong culture can feel really intangible and leaders often don’t know again where to start. So we developed our RX seven model, which is related to steal coach into seven foundations that are predictive of positive outcomes, including employee wellbeing, productivity and business performance. We’re currently working with private clients using the RX seven to help with culture change. We are releasing it publicly very soon. So keep an eye on our website or if you can’t wait, drop us an email. I won’t dive too much into it now. But in terms of the seven foundations, they are reason, roll recognition, resources, relationships, resilience, and remote. I’d like to take a moment just to focus on that first foundation of culture reason. So reason is about providing inspiring leadership, a clear vision and work with meaning and purpose. The aim is to help our employees feel fulfilled, to have purpose there are so many studies that have shown that in wellbeing terms having purpose in life is critical. Without purpose, we’re unlikely to experience the highest levels of well being. And purpose is of course subjective, and it’s different for each of us. But it is typically derived from work, relationships and health. We asked our guests what gives them purpose and the energy to continue this fight to build mental health awareness and workplace cultures in which people thrive. Here’s Amy
Speaker 1 29:00
Jo, I question this frequently because my life would have been so much easier in my early 20s If I had just gone into a normal career because I say normal I have been bashing my head against being a pioneer for not deliberately for so many years. I mean, when I went into this tech didn’t exist mental health didn’t exist workplace. And actually, I think I would have made a lot more money and had a lot more kind of less angst in my life and I just chosen a career path that was already existed and that was stable, especially if you throw in the nuances of being a passionate woman because that holds against you in society and motherhood is a whole other car crash. I honest answer is, I don’t know. I grew up in a family of health and mental health. My father was a psychiatrist. I love helping people in a not enough way. You know, I think I was born with a skill set of being able to talk and being able to have an active brain and be able to translate things and and see the bigger picture but also have the skills to be in the smaller. It’s just always it’s just felt innate. I think if some people are born on the planet knowing they want to be singers, right, you know, I kind of fell into health and mental health and seeing systemic change. And when I make decisions about how I spend my time, it was trying to think about what actual impact that’s having on other people, I would have made so much more money. And I think life would have been so much easier if I just got into the city at the age of 20. But it’s just sometimes you just realize you’re not wired that way. And I’m just not wired that way. It’s always been around health, mental health and women’s rights, you know, those things that no one has started talking about, just sort of something comes up, you know, I can’t identify, I’d like some people know, they’re going to be ballet dancers at the age of five, I kind of wish sometimes that have been something else, because it would have been a lot easier, and a lot more straightforward, then kind of it but you know, I think there’s a lot of legacy and impact that I will leave hopefully,
Leanne Elliott 30:54
we also asked Andrew who shared his personal journey with mind.
Speaker 4 30:58
So I’ve been at mine for five years now. And a variety of different roles, to bring myself to the head of workplace while being at mines, and all in the workplace while being department. But previous to that I worked at a university, and I was putting together our kind of student experience strategy. And in so doing, we were a part of we were one of, I think it was 12 universities and students unions that was doing a survey on student wellbeing. And that had some really stark results for the mental health and well being of students, which included the number of students just at our institution that had had suicidal ideation, that was really upsetting for unclear for the number of students that were kind of within our care, and that we were looking to support on campus that we’re having these feelings and potentially not accessing support. And again, it really posed the question to me around what more what more could I be doing beyond just what I was doing at the institution. At the institution, we really looked at how we reframed a lot of our services through our well being lens or our sports clubs and societies we offered for free to students. And that was very much with the well being intention and how students could access funding was essentially justifying how it supported Student Wellbeing moving forward. So we did kind of reframe a lot of what we were doing. But the question to me was, really, this is a larger problem in society, it’s not a problem that’s going away. And actually, there needs to be a cultural change in society about how we think and talk about our mental health, that is going to really facilitate this longer term benefit. And for that reason, I then started joining the team to change team time to change being an anti stigma campaign that ran through 2020. From about 2010. And again, that was all about breaking down stigma, opening up conversations, increasing mental health literacy, and the program’s kind of legacy really is the increase in mental health literacy, and over that period, a significant reduction in stigma. So that’s really what brought me to mind and got me passionate about the subject.
Leanne Elliott 32:58
So as a leader, maybe take some time this week to reflect on your reason, your purpose, and also the reason you’re giving to people. So they want to come and work for you. They want to get out of bed in the morning, they want to contribute to mission delivery. And to paraphrase the greatest philosopher of our time, so RuPaul. Charles, if you can’t inspire yourself, how the hell are you going to inspire anyone else.
Al Elliott 33:19
So if you’re listening to this podcast, it’s highly unlikely that you’re completely closed off to the idea that wellbeing is good for business, you’re going to be at least open minded and more likely to be kind of a believer in the people and culture calls. But what happens if you don’t have the seniority or the authority to put this kind of strategy in place? How, as people go to our HR practitioners are we going to secure the buying of the board and the senior members, Amy’s advice is to arm yourself with the numbers. That’s what they like.
Speaker 1 33:46
So I’m a great believer in I’ve got a finite amount of energy and time on this planet. So let’s use it on things that actually is going to have impact. But as she what I found with those sorts of people is sometimes they can be your biggest champions, right? There are some that you’re just never gonna get there. So you can usually figure that out quite quickly. What I ended up doing is like creating the jigsaw and the structure around other things. And a big part of what I have always done in whatever role I’ve done is being able to speak different languages. So when I ran my mental health tech startup I was my father was a psychiatrist, he was taking his knowledge, right, that’s how I got into this world. He specialized in stress, anxiety, depression in the in like the 80s. So taking clinical language and tech language and business language and translating them into something that works. So that’s where I think my skill set is, is being able to do that. So with those sorts of people, there’s some that you’re never going to get on board. There are actually a lot of people that if you have the right conversation totally get it because it’s happened to them. Their wife’s an alcoholic, their daughter’s had bulimia, you know, there’s a lot of that, but also, when you’ve created your strategy and your aim and what you’re trying to do, right, which is the bit that most people seem to forget. It’s then about trade creating the narrative Tiffa brown that right? And then selling that narrative, most of health, mental health and well being is stakeholder management. So having a narrative, which is this is the right thing to do for productivity for profitability gets people on board, but also numbers, right? So when I work with organizations, one of the first things we look at is how much health and mental health is already costing them through absence through people who have sick, I tried to stick to things you can actually measure, not sort of Wofully productivity tax things, although people would argue can measure that. But that’s a whole other debate. When you look at what you’re already spending, and then you say, Well, this is not a strategic spend. We’re an organization that actually prides itself on numbers. If we reallocate that strategic spend rather than absence, we’re putting it into decent house providers, it’ll make us more profitable and more productive. And you quantify that which you can, that gets some of the dinosaurs that aren’t me, but the white male ones are talking about on board. So it’s about having a number of different narratives up your sleeve, figuring out who you’re talking to, and then turning it. And sometimes it can be, I went into deals that don’t have audit partners, Ernst and Young and our audit partners, if you can imagine they are the bean counters of the bean counters. Right? So, so very, very, you know, exactly as you’ve described, analytical people. And I went in with my slide pack, you know, thinking because it’s always hard when you’re sort of woman in your early, late labor thing. I was late 20s, early 30s, trying to get on board those sorts of people. And they surprised me, because, you know, I had my sights on numbers. And all they wanted to talk about was this being the right thing to do. But I’ve gone into other audiences that I thought it’d be soft and cuddly, and spend an hour justifying the numbers on slide one. So it’s just about being armed with knowing what you’re doing, having the numbers, measuring it being really clear what your strategic aims are, and how you’re going to measure it. But then figuring out different ways of selling it based on who you’re dealing with,
Al Elliott 36:52
is like anything you want to get buy in on, just go with the numbers. Take yourself take a PDF like remember we said from was it last week, where we were talking about a windy the week before, we were saying that the way that Amazon does anything is they don’t put together a project proposal, they put together a report of how it’s gonna look when it’s finished. And then that’s basically their objectives, their aims and targets everything. So just didn’t go and get by. It’s the same as anything else.
Leanne Elliott 37:16
Yep, some really great advice from from Amy there. And hopefully, and, and our sorry, yeah, great advice from Amy, and other on how you can secure the volume from your board and leadership team.
Al Elliott 37:30
Leah, can you just talk us through at the secondary level.
Leanne Elliott 37:32
So basically, we’re primary level interventions, we’re about the organization, secondary level is about the individual. Do these types of interventions often help organizations to make significant improvements without all the upheaval of change that is needed for primary interventions. And they also have a more lasting preventative impact than tertiary interventions, which we’ll talk about a bit more later.
Al Elliott 37:54
The first of these three steps is just really raising the awareness of it. I mean, this is the core of secondary level level interventions, because you want to make sure that a certain topic or issue is more visible within the community, or the business or the group within which you’re trying to get this implemented in. The goal is to make people understand the importance of a certain issue, and then find the support to address it. Now mind, an incredible organization, if you’re not from the UK mind is massive, it’s like at the forefront of some of this stuff. It’s been raising awareness for mental health for 70 years. Here’s Andrew to explain a bit more.
Speaker 4 38:27
And one of the services that most people will use their mind is our info line. Again, the main website hasn’t been to Zed an introduction to common mental health problems, symptoms, treatments, where to go for support, are side by side online community, which is kind of peer to peer. There’s a whole host of services, but we are a federated charity as well. So we have about 130 independent local minds across the country. And again, many people will be familiar with their own local mind. And they provide have a local community services to really speak to the specific needs of some of our towns in some of our cities across the UK.
Al Elliott 39:02
But it’s not just the services that mind offers that’s raising awareness. Their research is has had huge impact of the highest of levels. We asked Andrew about the latest results from mines flagship WellBeing Index.
Speaker 4 39:14
Absolutely. So again, just to give a bit of background to anyone who isn’t aware of what our index is. Our workplace WellBeing Index is our benchmark of best practice across the UK. It’s been operating there for seven years, we’ve had 384 Different organizations participate. We’ve got a ridiculous number of data points, something along the lines of 45 million data points through individual questions. And each year we have about 50,000 employees answer various questions about mental health in the workplace. So every year following that kind of cycle of surveying and benchmarking, best practice, we produce our index insights and that really says year on year, what are the trends that we’re seeing? So the key statistic that I’ve been talking about today has been the fact that only 52% of employees who completed the workplace WellBeing Index would say that they feel supported by their organization. Now, that is a 6% decrease last year. To some extent, we think that is related to a bit of well being fatigue. And we also know that those employees have often said that they’ve seen a reduction and they mentioned permission from their organizations or brands, employee mental health and framed well being signposting to support services. So there’s been an 11% reduction in the number of employees who have also said that they’ve seen that level of permission. But that does mean that there’s 48% of employees who do not currently feel supported in their business. So we know that’s a significant number of employees.
Leanne Elliott 40:37
This is quite a sad making a statistic, isn’t it. Half the employees in the UK don’t feel supported by their organization. It just feels to me that organizations are maybe neglecting the secondary level interventions that are better supporting people with the the, you know, the stresses, they have the demands of their role, stress management, positive health promotion, better recruitment. And of course, it’s always better management. As we’ll hear from Andrew, line management is so important. And the data, the latest data is backing this up.
Speaker 4 41:12
But another kind of important statistic that come out of this year specifically, has been looking at the significant impact, that line manager is playing in that level of support. So thinking about employees who say that they have supportive line managers, they’re twice as likely to report good mental health outcomes compared to those that say that they don’t have supportive line managers. And similarly, when looking at employees who say that they have effective working relationships with their line manager, they’re three times more likely to report that they are happy at work than those that don’t. So we know that line managers have a really important part to play in satisfaction at work, how productive they are at work, and their mental health outcomes at work. That’s been a lot of the narrative that we’ve really been talking about today, about how do we take those findings and recognize the importance of Land Management, and translate that into some practical action. And if you’re going to be accessing support, you’re most likely to be accessing that support through your line manager. If you’re having conversations about workplace a reasonable adjustments, that’s most likely gonna be through your line manager. And again, we know that some of the challenges people have when they do have poor mental health is around competing tasks, competing challenges, knowing what to prioritize, and again, that workload prioritization, a lot of that comes directly from a line manager.
Leanne Elliott 42:24
This is a really important aspect of secondary level interventions. And the second that we want to highlight after raising awareness, training leaders, I feel like a broken record. So I’m going to hand it over to Amy as to why training leaders is so important.
Speaker 1 42:41
I mentor people across the industry, I guess the main difference with that is I’m working with individuals who are in those sorts of roles as opposed to writing strategies. And they range from global well being there’s been a lot of people that are in SMEs or even running their own well being businesses. And then what I realized, while I was doing this mentoring work is there loads of people who are responsible for health, mental health and well being to be blunt, are really passionate about it and have pivoted in from different, like DNI, or their learning and development, or their health and safety or the HR and they’ve taken the house Mental Health Wellbeing role. You know, sometimes in an SME, it’s a board member or director of ops, but they don’t really know what they’re doing in terms of the wider house and mental health. So you end up with kind of health, safety and well being or diversity and inclusion with a bit of like, mental health tacked on. So what I started to do is put together a practical training course, which was how to do how’s the mental health and well being in a comprehensive way that works and just run my first round. But as you said, like quite a few people who came, I had some global wellbeing needs and people from big companies, but I also had a lot of people from SMEs, I had someone from a school. And what was great was because you’re running a course everyone’s sharing ideas, and you can transpose something that works very well in an SME to a large company, but also be creative about different environments and industries. Obviously,
Al Elliott 44:01
I think most of our guests believe that training line managers is crucial. And but Andrew believes that to create this kind of business change, we need to level up the mental health literacy, what a phrase of our leaders has entered. Now
Speaker 4 44:15
over the last decades, mental health literacy has certainly improved, particularly in workplace settings. But again, there is still a number of people in society who do not understand that we all have mental health, just as we have physical health, they think of mental health problems on kind of a linear spectrum. So you’re either mentally well or mentally unwell versus all of us having mental health. It being something that we all possess but you know, some of us will have endured mental health problems and some festival not but all of us have wellbeing. And it’s perfectly natural for that to fluctuate day to day or after any kind of event. I think, again, particularly amongst SMEs. A lot of managers just do not feel that they have the time to commit to having conversations about mental health and well being a large number of them might not feel that it’s their responsibility, they might feel it’s the responsibility of either the individual to kind of manage their own mental health and manage their own resilience, which would not be mines position. Or that is the responsibility of HR or somebody that isn’t them. And again, to them, we would say no mental health and well being and having that support available for your line reports is everyone’s business. And it isn’t just a moral thing to do, it’s good business. Again, that’s how you have happier productive employees that deliver great results. And having a conversation with your line report about how they best perform at work is only to the benefit of your team and your outputs. But again, a large part of it does come down to having that time to have those discussions if those line managers feel that they’re under pressure that they do not have time to stop and think they’re perhaps not going to be prioritizing the time that’s needed to have a one to one conversation. And again, we know that to be effective in providing that support, you need to have that one to one conversation with your lamb apart, trying to have a broad brush approach is not going to be particularly effective.
Al Elliott 46:05
So we’re clearly putting a lot on these leaders and line managers, all of our expectations are rising. And of course, we need to work to protect our own mental health, and the mental health of our leadership, peers and managers across the business. So I asked Andrew, what can we actually do to ensure that leaders and managers are also supported with their mental health?
Speaker 4 46:25
So I think it’s about having conversations with those line managers and making sure that as a starting point, everyone is on the same page about the importance and priority of mental health and wellbeing for themselves for their teams, or the whole organization. I think it’s also about having conversation with their managers about what support they need to support their people. Again, if you think about workplace adjustments, for example, you might be having team members come to you with a line manager asking for workplace adjustments. But if you’re not sure if your organization’s policy on the subject, if you’re not sure what the organization deems reasonable or not reasonable, what budgets available, how you’re able to effectively signpost to support that you might have internally or how you signpost externally. Those are all barriers to that line manager feeling able to support to be able to support themselves. So again, is having that conversation with a manager about what can that senior leader of that business owner, what support can they provide their line managers, that’s going to make the process as simple as possible. And again, that’s often a reason that employees themselves, quote, why they don’t disclose that they have mental health problem, because they don’t have faith that anything is going to change as a result. And quite often for the line manager. That’s because they don’t know how to, they’ll have the conversation, but they don’t know how to then enact the change that’s required. There just trying to have really strong communication, and real clarity for what next steps look like, for line managers is really important. But I’d also like to signpost employees and line managers and senior leaders, just everybody, to our wellness action plan template. So it’s probably the most commonly given recommendation that we have at mines, to businesses that we work with. But a wellness action plan is essentially, for line managers a bit of a template on how to have a conversation with a live report, but it goes through what are the things that are sources of stress and sources of poor mental health for you? What supports you to have the best possible day at work? What supports you to thrive at work? When you’re struggling? What does that look like? How does that manifest for you? Are there any signs that I should be looking for which if you’re working now, in a hybrid environment, actually having that plan and having your employee tell you explicitly, what that looks like is really important, because it might be harder to kind of pick out some of those elements or changes in behavior if you’re only looking at someone’s first screen? And then what do you want them to do? Or see if they do spot some of their signs? Do you want them to say something? Do you want them to send an email, which you prefer that they message someone in your household or family member? What did you as an employee want those next steps to look like? So again, it’s really helpful for line managers to facilitate a conversation with their line reports. And if you feel that you don’t have a particularly supportive manager, as an employee, it can be a really helpful reflective exercise in and of itself. But also it does give you a kind of entry point to having that conversation with your labor, your line manager, because you’ve already done the hard work of thinking about the questions, reflecting on them, putting them down on paper, and saying this is how I think I could be a more productive employee. And positioning that with your line manager is a very difficult conversation to not listen to. And again, it gives a real obvious structure for line manager to be able to take away read and fully comprehend and understand.
Leanne Elliott 49:39
Just to pick up on a couple of things that Andrew said that I think helping line managers signposting is really important, just create a one page document, you know, based on the challenges that people are experiencing and have a service that managers can can signpost employees to if they need to. It’s not fair to put our line managers in these situations where You know, the vulnerable employee comes to them, and they don’t know what to do or can’t do anything about it. And I think there’s a second part to that as well. It’s training line managers to have these difficult conversations, to not freak out at her employee comes in and says, I’m not doing so great. Our instinct is to fix things, particularly like MIT, we just want to fix things want to make it better. And I’ve we talked so much before, often, it’s just creating a space for somebody to be heard, to talk about what they’re experiencing, and just listen. But of course, again, line managers need this training and need this development to help them do that, effectively. If you are looking at line manager training, please do get in touch, we have again, we can sound rosy to some great providers, and talk to you about the type of line manager training you want, that’s gonna have the most impact in your business. The final aspect of secondary level interventions that we want to highlight is earlier interventions. So secondary level, along with primary level interventions are a really important opportunity to prevent mental health challenges from escalating. It really is about prevention over cure, mental health is common one in six of us will experience a mental health disorder in our lifetime. That’s more than diabetes, which is 111 heart attacks, that is one eight, Alzheimer’s, which is one in nine, it’s the same as a stroke, one in six. Prevention is a powerful approach in the workforce. And many providers are championing this, including couth work, let’s hear from Michael.
Speaker 5 51:27
So I think really where we need to be looking at as a whole, everybody who’s at the water cooler event, and everybody like myself, my colleagues, Guth work, and well being leaders we work with, somehow we need to try and put in some early interventions in there. Because we can all try and provide fixes at the end. You know, there’s great support through APs. And there’s some great resources out there to help people who are actually going through a mental health crisis. And that kind of that kind of cure. So I but I think where we need to really focus our energy now is on prevention and early intervention. You know, this is personal opinion. And my but I always think that mental health is its mental health safety. Because, you know, if you’re dealing with construction industry is or, you know, emergency services like we do. You’ve got, there’s a heavy emphasis on prevention, you talk to someone from the fire services, right, they learn a long time ago about the best way of preventing a fire, or a best way of tackling a fire is that the fire doesn’t exist in the first place. So fire services spend enormous amounts of their resources and time, preventing fires, educating public changing culture and understanding. And that’s exactly the same approach that we should be taking with mental health. Best way to prevent mental health decline, or best way to deal with that client is to prevent it happening in first place.
Leanne Elliott 53:13
I started this episode with the lines of defense and risk management to really make the point that there is synergy, but we’ve also done it before. If we look at the number of deaths caused by accidents and work in 1912, it was estimated that between 18,020 1000 workers died, with improved awareness and efforts from business leaders that went down to 13,000 in the 1950s. We then had the introduction of the Health and Safety at Work Act in 1974. And that saw deaths by workplace accident dropped to just 651. Between 2021 and 2022. There are 123 deaths due to accidents at work, that’s 21,000 to 123. In 100 years, it really it really is it really shows it through awareness, improve regulation and prevention, we can make a significant difference if we take on this responsibility as businesses as leaders to improve the state of mental health in our workplaces. I’ve worked with C suite leaders who take enormous pride in health and safety improvements, improvements they’ve made in their workplace or in their manufacturing sector in their supply chains. Imagine if leaders took the same approach and pride in reducing the prevalence of mental illness. Here’s more from Michael, and the work he’s doing at Cuf. To encourage this approach.
Speaker 5 54:31
We talk to hundreds of companies every every year, and wellbeing leaders and also leaders of companies who are interested in improving mental health of their staff. So it’s not just restricted to the HR and well being set. But those are the people we normally have first conversations with because they’re in tune with it. But when we speak to them, it’s interesting when you ask them what they already have in place. And what we tend to see, and this is a sweeping generalization, but actually, the data in the flourish report does actually speak to this as well. There’s quite a formula that most businesses follow in implementing support and interventions for their staff. And it tends to be more on the crisis side, when someone’s really in dire need of help. Because that’s when they’re more most visible, they’re off, they’re absent, they’ve left the company or something catastrophic has happened. And that’s when it suddenly registers with the organization and their leadership that, okay, we need to do something I’m saying, this is often a trigger. There are thankfully, lots of employers out there who are proactive and realize this at a very early stage, a lot of doing taking steps to prevent things like this happening. But by and large, the theme, the trend is that things happen when the need arises. Because you’re talking about investing, finite resources, time money spend. And that tends to happen when something the red light flashes, but it’s by then it’s already happened. So really, what we’re trying to talk to employers about today, and in general, is about how to get that early warning how to get in there, and first of all, provide the tools for them to understand what’s going on below the waterline. So before it becomes a red light flashing to Michael
Al Elliott 56:46
and went on to say that we can use this data to not only understand the current state of mental health in organization, but we can predict what will happen if the risk isn’t managed or the early interventions are put into place? Yep, we’re back to employee insights. Again, we have
Speaker 5 57:00
tools like flourish, which provide deep dive into the mental well being of your workforce. We also have our ongoing quill reporting, which provides course corrections and helps you identify presenting factors as you go along. So you can tailor your engagement content and employee engagement programs, what you choose to talk about your business. But it also helps you tailor the support that’s needed. But what we’re seeing is the crisis support goes in first. And then there’s a bit of a kind of a setback, and oh, we’ve done it now. Or we’ve got we’ve got everything covered. But then what we tried to do is then start the conversation about Okay, so that’s great that you’ve got that. And we think that EAP is crisis support, Mental Health First Aiders, they are absolutely critical to your ecosystem of support for your workforce. But then we start asking about what they’re doing in terms of preventing things getting into the stage where they actually need to have first aid from a Mental Health First Aider or the crisis support access to crisis support in their EAP. You know, why? What are you going to do for the other 95% of your staff who are potentially, you know, that they’re not covered by these resources, they don’t need them. They’re not at crisis level, but they’re certainly wanting to talk to someone. And that gets, that’s where it gets really interesting, because all of a sudden, then you realize, there’s no budget for it. In a lot of businesses, so it’s a business case, and they’re trying to prove the need for something which might happen. So we provide providing the data and the tools to be able to see what is coming through before it actually becomes a crisis point is where we’re at, we try and help people understand what they’ve got, and what they need to provide, both in the workplace in virtual environment, how to change culture. And those insights are probably the bit that we see lacking most. When people first start out in their journey on how do we introduce a mental well being support program for our staff.
Al Elliott 59:32
So I’m pretty sure that back in 1912, the owners of mines and construction companies were like, well, it’s the workers responsibility to to avoid falling off the frickin timber or something 1000 feet. And of course, that changed over time. And and now I don’t think any construction company would ever think oh, it’s not my problem is not my responsibility to ensure that my workers are safe. I’m sure they’re all gonna say yeah, it’s definitely my responsibility. So we kind of feel like we’re back in 1912 about is perhaps a bit further on for mental health in that, that now people are starting to realize leaders and organizations are starting to realize it is actually our responsibility to we deal with the physical health is now our actual actual responsibility to, to ensure that our people in our organization have got good mental health. So we are really, really early on it there. And if you’re listening to this, and you’re nodding along with what Leann says, just think you’re a pioneer. You aren’t like the one in 100 people who are actually thinking about this right now, in 20 3040 years time, we’re gonna see this massive reduction in numbers, hopefully, because of regulation, because people are taking responsibility for it. Because of people like you who are listening, we’re actually doing something about it. So well done.
Leanne Elliott 1:00:40
Um, I just want to stand up and like, clap. I’m inspired. Let’s do this
Al Elliott 1:00:46
of the Tony Robbins of the say, yes,
Leanne Elliott 1:00:51
no, brilliant, brilliant. And well, well said. So the final level is the tertiary level. And this is probably the one you’re most familiar with, and will definitely be the focus of most wellbeing support providers out there. It’s about providing support or treatment for individuals experiencing problems with psychological well being without making changes to the situation. So no changes in the environment. It’s all about treatment for the individual. So that’s things like counseling, or return to work policies. So while our aspiration is to create environments that protect mental health and prevent mental health challenges, sadly, we’re a long way off that we don’t operate in silos. And as leaders, it’s important to recognize the external pressures that are causing added strain to our mental health. To explain more, here’s Michael from couth work.
Speaker 5 1:01:37
In fact, we’ve just done our own flourish. Research, which shows that 37% of staff are at risk of burnout, depression is very high as well. From that same source, there’s, over half of staff are at risk of burnout. So the fallout from COVID has, is really kind of happening now. We’re also experiencing new challenges as well, which are impacting on people’s mental health, such as the cost of living, that’s really kind of what’s taking the limelight at the moment. And, of course, financial health and mental health are very, very strongly and closely linked. So when we’re dealing with, and we’re seeing presenting issues from our data, through the people using a system, that they’ve got money, worries, money, worries, relationship issues, things that are happening in a home affecting what’s happening in the workplace, what’s happening in the workplace, affecting what’s at home, and the family unit. That’s what we’re seeing.
Al Elliott 1:02:41
Now, Michael went on to explain that the external pressures in the post COVID era are adding up and so the impact is actually unprecedented by
Speaker 5 1:02:49
Okay, well, there’s an entire interesting story. Hit the news on Sunday. And that was about how ambulance services were dealing, they dealt with 1.8 million. Now, I’ll have to fact check that because I’m trying to recall this stat. But 1.8 million people with mental health issues, that’s the ambulance services, just seeing that. So I think it’s the problems not going away. I think we’re going to see all those step. You know, social, technological, economic, and political or pestle, however far you want to extend it. All those factors, which none of us have control over, you and I sitting here, we can’t control what’s happening in other parts of the world. We can only do our bit. But I think these things are mounting up. We are experiencing and the human population is experiencing challenges right now. And especially in UK, which is where we focus. employees and their families are all experiencing X external factors that influence their mental health that they have no control over. It’s unprecedented. So it’s quite unique system. position we find ourselves in. And I think when you refer to this to the workplace, we’re seeing and throughout flourish research, which is really great report kind of highlights the influencing factors helps you benchmark and understand where your mental health of your staff are, what their needs are. But it also helps identify and reveal the influencing factors on what’s causing poor mental health in your in your workforce. The factors that are going to affect are having to do more with less people are at work dealing with cost of living, has constantly weighing on their mind, the mental health, the things that are going on in their mind, really affecting them. their ability to do their jobs. And then things that happen in the workplace burnout, which talks about that, unmanageable workloads, all those things that are happening, the extra pressure they’re experiencing in the work in the workplace, and then how that carries when they get back home, and how they interact with their family. And it becomes this. This multiplier effect,
Leanne Elliott 1:05:30
Michael was very clear in our conversation, tertiary level interventions are great. But they only serve as a solution at crisis point, he introduced me to the missing majority in the context of the typical mental health support, we see an organization,
Speaker 5 1:05:45
if you can imagine a typical mental well being support ecosystem and approach what we would normally see most, most companies that get started, they’re focusing on the two ends of the spectrum. So they’ll have the crisis support, but they’ll also have an app, a digital app, which will be step counting. It’ll include mindfulness exercises and things like that. But there’s the this concept called the missing middle thing is well quoted, I can’t remember which company it is defined that which we define it as the missing majority. Because those people who are using mindfulness apps and step counters, they tend to be more on the flourishing side, you know, they are, they’re maintaining their resilience. The crisis side we know is about two to 5%. What about that massive number of people in the middle? And the spending, which statistic you read the 55%, or the 68% of staff who just won’t talk about their mental health, especially to their employer? What do they do? How do you prevent them from sliding into a crisis point? And how do you keep them in the healthy stage where they are? pure, pure activity, doing work creates stress and anxiety. It’s part part of what we do. But keeping that within a healthy range, and how do you help people and provide the tools for them to maintain that a healthy relationship with stress and anxiety, without it slipping into the negative, and the burnout, and all the major issues and, and the issues that are gonna affect workforce and our ability to function as organizations?
Leanne Elliott 1:07:48
Michael, and I also chatted about the similarities when it comes to disengagement or performance management, we tend to focus our energies on the fires, or the people that are making the most noise, and often at the expense of those that are in need of our leadership and need of our support. And they’ve
Speaker 5 1:08:02
got to have an outlet. And it’s not always there ready to talk in person or on the phone, they can’t find the words. So how do they do that? I mean, we happen to have a tool which enables people to chat and type and or just explore their own self therapeutic options or joining the online community. That’s what we’ve got. But it is part of a bigger ecosystem, you know, you’ve got to have the on site, the ability for people to talk in person or on the phone as well. We’re not saying that you don’t need any of that you kind of need to cover as much as you can. But everybody’s organization and workforce is a different makeup, and they have different needs and understanding what the organizational needs are of your workforce is probably the starting point. Rather than just going down the same formula that is prescribed, or the current recent thinking is like what is right for your workforce in your organization, what mental well being needs that only
Leanne Elliott 1:09:08
tertiary interventions have a very important place in supporting the mental health and well being of ourselves and our employees. And I’m sure this mental health awareness week and month, you have heard lots and lots about this type of well being and mental health intervention. We are not saying that they don’t have a place or they don’t work, it’s more that they need to be playing a role in a broader ecosystem of support. That also includes primary level and secondary level interventions. And this is a contribution that we wanted to offer to Mental Health Awareness Week that an effective wellbeing strategy needs to be data led and holistic in its approach. As leaders, we should be identifying the primary, secondary and tertiary interventions that meet the needs of our employees and have measurable impact on wellbeing. Right. We’ve
Al Elliott 1:09:55
covered a lot so let’s end this conversation. By looking to the future we ask Andrew from mine, what he thinks the future holds for mental health awareness and protection.
Speaker 4 1:10:04
And then I think the next big thing that we are seeing, again, thinking more positively at those that are doing fantastic things, particularly amongst those that we work with, and that we’ve worked with for a number of years, they’ve really established again, that foundational understanding of what mental health is what best practice looks like. And they’re now wanting me to explore, how do how does that intersect with other areas of people’s identity? So thinking about support for mental health, menopause, for example, or mental health for parents? Or how does that intersect with neurodiversity, or the LGBT community? And again, for those that read the index insights, they’ll see that we’ve got a breakdown of results, according to people from minority ethnic communities, LGBT communities, and young careers. And a key recommendation is really thinking, moving forwards for those organizations that are doing fantastic things, not just thinking of what is your mental health strategy, but thinking about how do you make that strategy audience specific, and think about the different needs and challenges that different kinds of employees within your business might be facing? I think that’s the exciting thing that we’re going to be seeing over the next few years. And again, the exciting thing that we’re seeing at this very event. So again, you can see that there are services that are for menopause, that are services about parents and mums. So again, I think that’s the, the really positive narrative that’s coming out of today, and that we’re going to see over the next couple of years,
Leanne Elliott 1:11:27
I hope that’s given you some information inspiration to create a wellbeing strategy that is gonna have impact real impact on your employees mental health. Thank you so much, to our incredible guests, to Amy, to Michael and to Andrew, we salute you, we are behind you, we are championing you keep doing the incredible work, it is making a difference and it is driving change.
Al Elliott 1:11:50
As always, we’ll leave all the links to our guests and the services they offer in the show notes URL, including a link to incredible Amy’s mentoring and stretching services and also our training courses. The research reports quoted by Andrew and Michael and the services offered by both mind and Keith work,
Leanne Elliott 1:12:04
yes, and do keep an eye on our website, we are in the process of updating it and adding more exciting content to it, which we will tell you about very, very soon. Thank you so much for listening. It’s another week. And we’ve got another episode next week. We’re very predictable in that way.
Al Elliott 1:12:23
We are and if you are listening to this now let me see when will this go out? This will go out on Wednesday. We don’t have much time. We’ll be at the Taco Bell design week on Tuesday, Wednesday. So if you listen to this Wednesday morning, you’re gonna have to run really quickly then talk about design. And they’ll come and find us there. And so we’ll see you in a week’s time with another hopefully re episode. Bye bye bye
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