The panel pictured above from left to right:
Paul Farmer, CBE, CEO Mind
Peter Simpson, CEO Anglian Water Group and Chair of Business in the Community's Wellbeing Leadership Team
Moya Green, CEO, Royal Mail
Peter Cheese, CEO, CIPD
Poppy Jaman, CEO, Mental Health First Aid England
Stefan Stern, Director, High Pay Centre
On Time to Talk Day, 4th February 2016, Business in the Community published its ‘Leading on mental wellbeing: transforming the role of line managers’ report. The report covers the importance of leadership on mental health and how the capability and wellbeing of line managers are the key to changing organisational culture.
The report was launched at an event hosted by Royal Mail, with speakers including Luciana Berger MP, the Shadow Minister for Mental Health, who spoke about the importance of workplaces breaking down barriers to talking about mental health and the role they have to play in addressing these challenges. She said: “Business in the Community has made the case for employers to change the culture on mental health. It’s great such high profile organisations are working together on an issue that has been neglected for so long.”
Stefan Stern then moderated an insightful panel discussion, kicked off by Moya Greene, Chief Executive, Royal Mail, who said that ‘work can be part of the recovery process’ for those who have suffered from mental ill health. The panel also included Paul Farmer CBE, Chief Executive, Mind; Peter Cheese, Chief Executive, CIPD; Peter Simpson, Chief Executive, Anglian Water; and Poppy Jarman, CEO, Mental Health First Aid England.
The panel fully endorsed Business in the Community's call for action to sign up to the Time to Change organisational pledge and to introduce Mental Health First Aid training for line managers, as part of a wider approach. The panellists discussed a wide range of topics and responded to questions from the floor - including how senior leaders can identify the key areas to focus on around mental health, the barriers to opening up conversations on mental health in the workplace, and how to respond to challenges of supporting employees in an increasingly virtual and remote workplace.
Peter Simpson, Chair of Business in the Community’s wellbeing Leadership Team noted that increasingly, employees are seeking out employers who actively promote wellbeing: “having a proposition that shows you are thinking about wellbeing makes you a more attractive employer.”
Today’s event demonstrates that the tide is finally turning and increasingly more leaders are waking up to the importance of mental health, the need for change and that line managers are an important lever. As Paul Farmer from Mind said: “Ten years ago we wouldn’t have had senior leaders openly talking about mental health. This indicates the start of a quiet revolution… which is going to get noisier”.
It was good to see leaders in the room recognising both that line managers are a key lever for changing and embedding the culture on mental health in the workplace, and that leaders have a role to play in ensuring line managers get the right training and support to do just that.