National Mental Health Week 2018
- 4 Min Read
To mark National Mental Health Week, HRD Connect is running a role models of mental health campaign. We have spoken to influential figures and prestigious business leaders who have opened up about their own personal experiences with mental health.
Role modeling mental health
The theme of this year’s National Mental Health Week is stress. Employees face umpteen pressures every single day, in fact during 2016 and 2017 throughout the UK 12.5 million days were lost due to work-related stress and depression which – evidently this is a national epidemic and needs to be addressed.
Here at HRD Connect, we think that communication is vital when building happy and productive places to work. The reason we decided to run a role modeling mental health campaign was to highlight that real change needs a catalyst and if successful leaders share their personal experiences with mental health, we hope that everyone else can share their stories too. We want people to not only comfortable but entirely empowered to embrace mental health within their workplace. We would like to see everyone become a mental health model because it’s something that in some way impacts on everyone.
The role models we’ve spoken to include; Alastair Campbell, Brian Heyworth, Geoff McDonald, Ruth Sutherland and Jessica Carmody. Each and every story detailed this week is a personal tale which underpins the need for a real societal shift and a change of mindset within UK business.
The features we cover come from entirely different perspectives across a spectrum of sectors. We detail alcoholism, suicide, being hospitalised and feeling entirely helpless – but each of these mental health role models all have one factor in common, they all needed and got support from the organisation or person they worked for.
We hope these features allow our HRD Connect community to take an all-encompassing approach to mental health in the workplace and take this opportunity to embrace change and better employees lives going forward.
Alastair Campbell has become somewhat synonymous with mental health advocacy across various sectors. He has rightly used his high-profile status to become an ambassador for the likes of Mind and Time to Change mental health charities, which in turn are making real change in the way we communicate our mental health in the workplace. HRD Connect speaks exclusively to Alistair Campbell about his own personal story with depression, Tony Blair’s attitudes towards his mental health and how we need to consider that it’s not one in four of us that have mental health, it’s one in one.
To mark national mental health awareness week we met with Brian Heyworth, Global Head of Client Strategy at HSBC. He told us his in-depth personal story about having a psychological breakdown, keeping professionalism in mind and never recovering but learning to crisis manage himself from the depths of despair into a happy and fulfilled, albeit work-obsessed life. Brian Heyworth is one of HRD Connect’s key leaders involved in our ‘Mental Health Role Models’ campaign running throughout National Mental Health Week. In his position of leadership, has decided to speak publicly about his personal mental health and by doing so he may have empowered others within the organisation to feel more secure about living with a mental health issue. When culture is role modeled from the top down it has the power to permeate change and perceptions throughout companies.
“We need to do more to develop language around mental health” says Jessica Carmody, Senior Manager at KPMG. Carmody heads up KPMG’s internal ‘Be Mindful’ mental health network, empowering all employees to articulate their own feelings towards mental health. Carmody is one of our HRD Connect’s Mental Health Role Models, advocating that it’s ok for leaders to talk about their own battles with mental health.
“It’s the same as spraining your ankle when you’re running, it’s a temporary thing and it doesn’t have anything to do with your overall fitness or skill as an athlete.” – Jessica Carmody
Geoff McDonald wants to change the way we work forever, he says we need dedicated emotional and mental health education from a young age ensuring the stigma will fade for good, McDonald is the former VP of HR at global consumer goods giant, Unilever.