Mental health awareness has been steadily progressing over the last few years, entering conversations at companies in every sector. But there’s still some way to go, with plenty of myths out there.
The session I attended—organised by hibob, and facilitated by Suki Bassi from Happy Maven—had some vital messages and eye-opening facts. For instance, one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem this year alone.
I was shocked by this. But after a little internal examination, I realised I’d forgotten that I’m actually one of those four. And based on that statistic, there were another 14 Enturans who were struggling at that very moment. I have experience dealing with this kind of struggle—with getting help and working out how to navigate some of the darker passages along the journey of life. And I wanted to make sure others could do the same.
As soon as I got back to the office, I started working on Entura’s mental health in the workplace initiative. Not long after, spurred on by Mental Health Awareness week, I presented our MH Awareness 2 Action Project to the company. And within minutes of presenting our strategy, I had two Enturans come up to me and open up about their struggles. I can’t think of anything I’ve done professionally that’s had such an immediate impact. But this was only the start of the journey.
Just last week, on World Mental Health Day, the Entura HR team presented again to the company, encouraging people to have conversations about mental health. And I’m delighted to announce that we now provide access to the Able Futures mental health support service. Any Enturans who might want some extra support can now get it, at no cost to them, whenever needed.
Here at Entura, we’re committed to making sure we foster a workplace where mental health is treated no differently than any other illness. If you visit our offices, you may even see one or two people wearing the Mental Health Awareness ribbon, in support of the cause. We want a safe environment where everyone feels comfortable enough to talk, and they have the support needed to reach their full potential.
I believe this kind of openness has a place at every level in Entura, but it needs to start at the top.
So, as the head of HR, I want to state for the record: I have struggled, and from time to time I continue to struggle. I know that I will likely struggle again. But I will always look for support to meet these challenges. And I will always find someone I can talk to. I just hope that others do the same.