Mental Health and Diversity

On 30th October 2019 56 attendees joined The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress for the sixth and final Power of Inclusion breakfast seminar of 2019, sponsored by Allianz Global Investors. The aim of this breakfast was to hear from organisations who have changed their cultures and policies, to improve the mental wellbeing of those with protected characteristics in the workplace

The breakfast kicked off with a warm welcome from the chair Tony Vickers – Byrne, Chief Advisor for HR Practice, CIPD who shared that,  recent surveys show that one in two line managers do not think that the health and wellbeing of their staff is their concern, and one in four organisations would not be confident in appointing somebody with a disability”.

Andreas Uttermaan, Global CEO at Allianz Global Investors welcomed the audience into the space and that Diversity and Inclusion is a key area for Allianz Global Investors.

The Lord Mayor in his opening address started by acknowledging that we have achieved a lot over the years, but there is some way to go and that mental health is a “human issue and not an economic issue”.  The Lord Mayor also emphasised that young people look to the City for leadership and thus leaders, within the City must set a good example for young people to follow.

The first speaker of the morning, Louise Aston, Wellbeing Director at Business in the Community shared key findings from their 2019 research, Time to Take Ownership. Louise explained that this research was named so “because progress has been slow, and employers don’t seem to be looking at the systemic root causes”. Louise closed her talk with, “employers need to take a tailored, inclusive approach for everyone, including minority groups in “creating good work that enhances mental health for everyone”.

Abhijay Jain, Partner, Deals Tax, PWC was the second speaker of the morning shared candidly about his experience of supporting a loved one through periods of mental ill health, and the impact that this experience had on him being from a faith group and cultural group that didn’t have language to describe mental ill health. Today, Abhijay is a mental health advocate at PwC and closed with details of the strides that PwC are making in advancing mental wellbeing for all employees.

The third and final speaker, Mark Twigg, Executive Director at Cicero Group shared openly as a member of the LGBTQ+ community about the intersections between sexuality and mental health. He also shared some of the policies and cultures that Cicero Group, an SME have put in place to increase mental wellbeing in the workplace. Mark closed by sharing that since improving mental provisions for mental wellbeing, staff retention particularly amongst those with protected characteristics has increased.

With many thanks to Allianz Global Investors for sponsoring another great Power of Inclusion breakfast.

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