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Because The Lord Mayor’s Appeal works in the City of London, it can be easy to assume that the activity we do is only for large organisations and corporate firms.

However, This is Me, the initiative focused on mental health and building a healthy society, is an international movement for businesses of all sizes.

From research and working with our This is Me businesses we know This is Me that works, in both a small and large business context. Storytelling not only has a direct impact on increasing awareness, encouraging more people to talk openly about mental health and challenging stereotypes and reducing stigma. We also know it has the power to act as a catalyst for change as an organisation as a whole.

The most recent webinar in the 2020 series was called This is Me for small businesses, and focused on how small businesses can integrate the different components of This is MeThis is Me Storytelling, The Green Ribbon Campaign, and Wellbeing in the Workplace – into their wellbeing agenda.

The speakers Richard Martin Director and Bynre.Dean and co-chair of the London This is Me steering group, and Ian Parkes, Chief Executive of ELBA (East London Business Alliance) shared their thoughts on how small businesses can implement This is Me to help end the stigma around mental health.

Here are their top tips for businesses for small businesses looking to end the stigma around mental health, and create healthier and more inclusive workplaces.

  • Use the Green Ribbon to raise awareness and start conversations. It’s a visible mark of commitment to supporting good mental health.
  • Be inspired by This is Me films from other organisations, to start opening up the conversations.
  • Open up the conversation by asking a colleague how they are, and listen to the answer. Too often ‘how are you?’ is used as a greeting, when it should actually be something that you want to know.
  • Consider your company’s culture. What works in one business might not work in another. It will only work if you consider the specific context in which it will be operating.
  • Think broadly about activity you can include. Ideas include laughter yoga, lunchtime walks, therapy dogs, creativity workshops and more.
  • Don’t be held back by thinking you have to do something perfectly. It doesn’t have to be glossy or impressive. As long the purpose is there, even a small activity can be useful.
  • If starting a conversation feels difficult, use media stories or television programmes as an ice breaker.
  • Undertake Mental Health First Aid training, so there is someone in your business for people to go to.
  • Remember that it’s not only about doing the good or right thing. It’s also good for business. Solving problems and issues can be far more resource heavy than preventing them or creating a supportive culture.
  • Create a company where managing wellbeing is the norm. Empower people to take care of their own wellbeing, and to feel comfortable supporting others.
  • Ask employees what they need, and respond accordingly.

For more information on This is Me visit the website or email thisisme@thelordmayorsappeal.org

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