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On Monday 25 Novemberover 950 delegates from 180 companies descended upon London’s Queen Elizabeth II Centre for This Can Happen, the award-winning workplace mental health event of the year.

This year’s highlights included a panel of CEOs discussing why they’ve made mental health a top priority, plus sessions on topics such as the future workplace, suicide, faith and diversity and addiction.

Samaritans, one of The Lord Mayor Appeal’s three charity partners, also featured on the agenda, highlighting the fantastic progress in workplace wellbeing programmes. Jason Jaspal, Assistant Director of Business Development at Samaritans, facilitated a session with major UK retailers, hosting an honest discussion on how the sector has joined forces to address solutions for improving staff mental health.

Samaritans was joined by four of the seven leading retailers, who earlier this year joined together in an effort to improve the mental wellbeing of staff with the help of Samaritans.

Beth Rochford, Wellbeing Manager at Marks & Spencer, Paul Caudwell, Health and Wellbeing Manager at Co-Op, Yulia O’Mahony, Head of Diversity & Inclusion & Wellbeing at John Lewis Partnership and Toni McKay, Head of Health Wellbeing & Colleague Experience at Tesco all shared their experiences of developing the Wellbeing in Retail tool.

Over 5,000 employees have now accessed the tool, which launched just over a month ago. 

Commenting on the project, Beth Rochford, Wellbeing Manager at Marks & Spencer, says: “It’s great that we’re putting pressure on each other to be setting the bar and that’s great that we can work together to do that.”

The launch of the Wellbeing in Retail tool complements Samaritans’ Wellbeing in the Workplace online learning programme which was launched in 2018 initially for city workers with the help of The Lord Mayor’s Appeal and has been successfully rolled out to over 900 organisations. The programme brings Samaritans’ listening and wellbeing expertise into the workplace to equip employees with the skills to look after their emotional health and look out for others.