Wellbeing in the workplace is a business fundamental, and where people are supported to thrive, in turn, it helps businesses to thrive too. This month, Bethan Aspland, ‘This is Me’ Programme Manager at The Lord Mayor’s Appeal, shares three resources to enable businesses to embed practices that support mental health at work and help create psychologically safe workplaces.
With over 12 billion working days lost every year to depression and anxiety (at a cost of US$ 1 trillion per year according to the World Health Organisation), creating psychologically safe workplaces is still one of the biggest challenges organisations face today. In the UK alone, research from Deloitte’s revealed that the cost to employers of poor mental health has increased 25%, from £45bn in 2019 to up to £56bn in 2020-21.
The business case for organisations to make cultural changes continues to grow, with one of the biggest challenges being to remove the stigma around mental health at work. This raises the important question of ‘HOW do organisations create psychologically safe workplaces?’
Answering this question is my focus in my role as ‘This is Me’ Programme Manager at The Lord Mayor’s Appeal. Combined with my experience from being a CEO of a global wellbeing business and my passion for having a positive impact on others, I work towards the This is Me programme’s mission of destigmatising mental health at work and improving others’ quality of life. At the Lord Mayor’s Appeal, we recognise some of the key challenges that organisations face when supporting employees with mental health struggles, including dispelling myths, changing attitudes, and having open conversations. So, with support from steering groups across the UK and Asia, we have developed several tools and resources to support organisations on their journey to create psychologically safe workplaces, these include:
- The Green Ribbon Campaign – a visual demonstration of support for those with mental health challenges, showing colleagues that they are not alone. By purchasing and wearing green ribbons, organisations can reduce the stigma around mental health and open the door to impactful conversations on wellbeing. Over 273,000 green ribbons have been worn across the world to date, now it’s your turn to join this positive mental health movement.
- Storytelling – an easy-to-use model that supports organisations to use the power of personal stories to change attitudes towards mental health and challenge stereotypes. By documenting and sharing the mental health experiences of colleagues from all levels (particularly executives and C-suites), organisations can reduce the stigma of mental health at work and create a happier and healthier workforce.
- Wellbeing in the Workplace – developed in collaboration with Samaritans, this interactive online training tool equips employees with the necessary skills to handle both their own emotional well-being and provide support to those in their surroundings.
Over 1200 organisations across the world have taken part in the This is Me programme (using the tools above) and seen positive changes in their organisational culture, particularly towards destigmatising mental health, for example:
- 73% of organisations say that after taking part in This is Me activities employees speak more freely about mental health at work.
- 82% of businesses reported senior level buy-in around the need to support mental health.
- 75% of organisations plan to run the This is Me programme again next year.
All three of these tools can be accessed for free through the This is Me resource hub here.
Throughout the year, we also host webinars and events to help you progress on your This is Me journey towards creating mentally inclusive workplaces so do keep an eye out for our updates. Follow our LinkedIn page or sign up to our newsletter here.
We also recognise that each industry, sector, workplace and individual face different workplace wellbeing challenges so we are also available to support you with tailoring each of these tools to you and your organisation.
For more information or to find out more about the This is Me programme and events, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope to see you at our events in 2024!
Bethan Aspland is Programme Manager at The Lord Mayor’s Appeal and CEO of Pretty In Paper By B. As ‘This is Me’ Programme Manager, Bethan utilises her adept management and relationship-building skills to impactfully contribute to mental health advocacy. Through her strategic approach, Bethan organises specialised events, webinars, and resources, supporting organisations globally in reducing workplace stigma. Her efforts to facilitate open conversations and awareness contribute to healthier workplace cultures. Bethan’s unique skill set positions her as a leader dedicated to fostering positive change in both her business and societal initiatives.
As a passionate advocate for creativity and mental wellbeing, Bethan is also the strategic architect for Pretty In Paper By B’s growth and development, crafting the vision and leading the team. In her role as CEO, Bethan guides people to create mindful experiences through specialised craft kits, educational videos, and downloadable activity guides. With a global community of over 100,000 followers on social media, she shares her unique story and style, inspiring others to utilise arts and crafts as a creative outlet for improved wellbeing.