I’m hoping that you won’t have missed the significant communications and other activities we have made over the last few years, raising awareness around mental wellbeing.
This is a personally important subject for me. And we know, from the range of shared experiences of our friends and colleagues, just how broad the issues are that can impact on us and how much better we feel if we are supported and can find someone to talk our issues through with.
On Thursday 4 February it was Time to Talk day, and throughout this month we’re asking our leaders, managers and supervisors to take time to have conversations with their teams around wellbeing; and particularly around the issues that impact upon mental wellbeing.
So why is this so important to National Grid or any business?
Well, today there were headline news articles on the report from NHS England, which concludes that too many people get no help or inadequate care. You will know from the material we have shared that one in six of us in the workplace will be impacted by mental wellbeing issues in any one year – that equates to a business cost £1035 per employee per year; or, for our UK business, over £10 million pounds.
But, even more important, is the impact that poor mental health has on individuals, their colleagues, families and friends. Mental wellbeing has been the elephant in the room for so many years that we should not be surprised that, both in business and society, it is finally getting the attention it deserves.
I know that not everyone is comfortable with having conversations about wellbeing. These conversations are hard enough with family and friends, let alone in the workplace.
To help, we have provided advice on how to start these conversations and how to support and guide people. Please remember that our mental and physical wellbeing ebbs and flows and you will often find that the conversation will be positive; and reinforces good approaches that help us build our resilience against future challenges, both at work and at home.
If you have a role where you are responsible for others, please can I ask you to include wellbeing in your one-to-one conversations – not just during this month, but to weave it into all your future conversations. Just start, even if it feels awkward or embarrassing – I’m always amazed at what can happen after I ask “…and how are you?”, and that’s something I do now at every one of my meetings.
Throughout 2015, we moved this campaign forward with another 300 of us taking part in training courses around ‘Mental Health First Aid’ and ‘How to Build a Resilient Mind-set’.
If you are interested in the ‘Mental Health First Aid’ and ‘How to Build a Resilient Mind-set’ courses – and for a range of advice, tools and support both for managers and employees – take a look at the mental wellbeing resources portal and our mental wellbeing and stress management page.
Group Director of Safety, Sustainability & Resilience