Mental Health Awareness Week: supporting mental health in the workplace

Today marks the start of Mental Health Awareness week. An initiative established nearly 20 years ago to help raise awareness of mental health.

With an estimated 1 in 6 people experiencing a mental health problem in the last week alone, it’s clear to see that tackling the issue of mental health remains a national priority.

Looking at mental health, it’s important to consider what influences it, like work. For many, work is an incredibly important part of their life. Working in an environment where you feel valued, stimulated and supported, is therefore essential to positive mental health.

There are many ways to encourage mental health wellbeing at work. At O2, we have a wide variety of tools available to help our people have the open conversations and ensure they have the support they need.

This year for Mental Health Awareness week we’ll be looking at a different theme each day, raising awareness with our people about the support services available, both at O2 and externally. We will be touching on themes such as work life balance and resilience.  For example, we know lifestyle plays a huge part in mental wellbeing, so we encourage our people to work in a way that suits them. And, we know that cultivating an open and inclusive culture is also key.

As such, we’re committed to breaking the stigma around all types of mental health problems. For example, we’ll be using Global Accessibility Day on Thursday as a timely opportunity to prompt discussion around diversity in mental health. We’ve also set up support groups, including the Menopause Focus Group, to promote conversation around what can be, for some, a difficult time. By sharing stories and experiences we can help reduce stigma and help people feel more resilient.

While weeks like this are important for helping raise awareness on such an important topic, I’m clear that it’s important for us all to consider mental health and supporting colleagues all year round.

At O2 we believe in the importance of supporting our people in the best way for them, investing in the tools and services that will truly make a difference. I’m proud of how these are continuing to evolve and of the inclusive workforce we continue to foster.

I’d be really keen to hear anything you are doing in your teams or organisations to support colleagues that we might be able to learn from too.