What do you do when you’ve started the journey, published storytelling videos, taken part in the Green Ribbon campaign, or done the Wellbeing in the Workplace training? How do you keep the conversations going so that you empower employees in your organisation to end the stigma around mental health?
That was the topic of our final This is Me webinar of 2020, which took place on Wednesday 18 November, with a focus on keeping the This is Me momentum going.
Senior Programme Manager Robyn Vernon-Harcourt welcomed attendees and asked them to reflect on 2020 – a well used technique for enhancing mental health.
Highlights of This is Me 2020 includes
- The Green Ribbon Campaign reaching over 70 cities in the UK and 20 internationally, in the first digital campaign.
- This is Me Yorkshire launching in October 2020 with 45 businesses already registered, and a podcast.
- 65 businesses sharing stories, a huge success in such a challenging year.
- A film from senior leaders from across London for Mental Health Awareness Week, including Mayor of London Sadiq Kahn.
Our first speaker was Gemma Gore from Fidelity International. The company have been involved in the campaign since 2017, and have found that momentum breeds momentum, and engagement has grown over the last few years. Once senior leaders started to speak up, the buzz, enthusiasm and energy filtered throughout the business, and the campaign came to life.
Mental health is a big aspect when it comes to diversity and inclusion, and it was something that colleagues and employees were keen to address in the business. This is Me was the catalyst for driving this big step change in the businessEvery October as part of World Mental Health Day they release a video and sharing those real stories as a way of educating people has the biggest impact.
Over the last couple of years they’ve developed the programme and Gemma said it’s very important to have an ongoing reminder, or a ‘regular drumbeat’, so people blog regularly about mental health, in addition to the videos. For them it’s about having healthy conversations and seeking to look after everyone’s wellbeing in a holistic way, continuing to drive the conversations, through any means possible.
We then heard from Joe Joe Hyames from AIG. At AIG the campaign also took on a life of its own, with the first call over running by an hour, as people were moved to share their story. And again, senior management buy in and their openness to share their story was hugely inspiring, encouraging people from across the business to speak up. At every induction they play the This is Me video, showing all new staff the power of being open and honest about mental health, and the organisation’s position on it. The formalisation and institutionalisation of a full mental health and wellbeing programme shows that the subject is not something hidden away in the business, but part of the wider conversation. The company has a clear commitment to enhancing mental health, and through This is Me have become a more inclusive workplace.
And top tips for 2021, keeping the momentum going in what will no doubt be another challenging year?
Our speakers suggest
- Opening up the more informal channels, encouraging people to connect and have conevrsations.
- Expand the reach – this can be an international and company wide initiative.
- Make Mental Health First Aiders available, offering time and support for them.
- Remember that mental health goes across all diversity and inclusion workstreams – it’s not siloed.
If you would like to know more about how your organisation can take part in This is Me and create a healthier more inclusive workplace, visit our healthy page.