World Mental Health Day 2019

By Susan Antoine, Head of HR

Today is World Mental Health Day, an opportune moment to encourage discussion and raise awareness for mental health. This year’s theme focuses on the incredibly important topic of suicide and suicide prevention. Each year, approximately 800,000 people around the world take their own life, which is why every step, small or large, that we as a firm can take to ensure a positive workplace environment, is important.

Last year’s World Mental Health Day blog, discussed the steps already being taken to support HLK employees with their mental and physical wellbeing. From the launch of our wellbeing programme, HoListiK, in 2017 that continually offers various initiatives such as head massages, book club and team picnics, we aim to encourage a more inclusive environment within the workplace. Last year, 25 HLK colleagues became Mental Health First Aiders (MHFA) with the intent of ensuring each colleague feels safe and confident to talk about issues they may be encountering.

Since last year’s blog, HLK have established a Mental Health and Wellbeing Group that have set out the following aims:

  • Create a considerate and creative workplace
  • Address the stigma that surrounds mental health
  • Enable everyone to feel safe and confident talking about any problems or issues they may be encountering
  • Offer support to everyone in all our offices who may be experiencing mental health issues

The first step the group took was to create an anonymous wellbeing survey for all HLK colleagues to complete, to provide an understanding of our colleague’s views and experiences regarding mental health in order for the group to ensure the work environment is conducive to positive mental health.

In addition, this World Mental Health Day, we will be holding a lunchtime discussion within the office looking at, “Diseases of the body garner sympathy, says comedian Ruby Wax — except those of the brain. Why is that? With dazzling energy and humour, Wax, diagnosed more than a decade ago with clinical depression, urges us to put an end to the stigma of mental illness.”

As part of our commitment to mental health wellbeing, we continue to support Jonathan’s Voice, which was set up in 2017, in memory of Jonathon McCartney with the purpose of working ‘work with organisations and individuals to promote mental wellbeing in the workplace and beyond’. We also proudly support IP Inclusive who are ‘committed to improving equality, diversity and inclusivity in our community’.

Mental health problems can affect anyone, at any time and so it is important to remember that it is just as vital to care for your physical as well as mental wellbeing. Although World Mental Health Day is only one day in the year, this day provides a foundation for discussion and is a step closer to reducing the social stigma surrounding mental health.