A healthy mind creates a healthy person is often said. It also must mean achieving this leads to a more effective team member or learner.

There is no doubt that mental health is a killer and disrupts many families causing heartbreak and stress, for not only the individual suffering but also those around them. 

I know, because I have lived with mental illness for nearly 17 years and continue to do so, hidden away from the external world as best I can, but those close to me have suffered in the background, partners, children and friends that have been lost along the way.

I take no credit for the next bit. One of the CEO’s who I mentor sent me this, only this morning. Read it a few times:

From Coca Cola's CEO - Bryan G Dyson:

Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them – Work, Family, Health, Friends and Spirit and you’re keeping all of these in the air. 

You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls – Family, Health, Friends and Spirit– are made of glass. If you drop one of these; they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for it. 

Work efficiently during office hours and leave on time. Give the required time to your family, friends and have proper rest. Value has a value only if its value is valued.

As employers, do we really do enough about mental health support?

It is the latest trendy subject some would say with lots of people ‘jumping on the band wagon’ of sympathy and ‘we must do more’. 

We should, but actions speak louder than words with mental health and I really do question whether we are doing enough. 

  1. How many of us actually have a mental health policy in our businesses which sets out the steps we take and support available to our staff? 
  2. Do we provide access to mental health counselling services to our staff members, which is confidential and undertaken by professional medical personnel?
  3. Does our support extend to the families of those suffering – or at least offered to them?

I see many posters in office washrooms stating ‘mental illness – we are here to help’ but believe me when you are suffering, a poster when you at the urinal really does not provide any support at all.

Therefore, as employers, I think we need to do more – not just recognise that the problem exists but provide practical support on a confidential basis. 

In 2005, well before Mental Illness was a ‘hot topic’ I organised a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist (CBT) for our business on a call off basis. Staff were able to go and see on a confidential basis a CBT and we simply received the invoice each month. It was very anonymous but after the event, many staff members came to see me to say how useful it had been – Sometimes, just 2/3 sessions are enough to make a difference – it is not a big cost for a business to protect our most important asset, our people. 

The Promote-Ed team are committed to supporting mental health in any way we can so let’s hear on our forum’s about anything people are doing to improve the wellbeing of our people. My aim is to have a mental health policy and practical support in every school, college, employer, private training provider and sector provider in the country in the next 3 years. 

I am currently working with a national PLC. Watch this space as we aim to launch for the sector in the next few weeks real, practical support for the sector. We will make a difference!

My first-hand experience is that CBT practically saved my life and certainly, the skills I developed helped me considerably over the past 16 months.

Who knows what the consequences could have been!

Join the discussion with Promte-Ed: https://forums.promote-ed.co.uk/d/50-are-we-doing-enough-with-mental-health

Peter Marples, www.promote-ed.co.uk

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