Friday Highlight  

What World Mental Health day can teach us

What World Mental Health day can teach us
 Riccardo Bresciani/Pexels

As we fast approach the end of the year which has been filled with uncertainty, sadness, and grief a light has also been shone on mental health and race.

Each October we take time to recognise Black History Month and World Mental Health day; this year, both have taken a new meaning.

We are living through a moment in history which if we come together we can make a positive difference for our colleagues, clients and our consumers.

Pre-pandemic one in four people will experience poor mental health in their lifetime.

So what impact has the pandemic had on our mental wellbeing? Mental Health Foundation found that in the last week of June 49 per cent of the UK population felt anxious or worried, down from 62 per cent in March. 

Mind found that during these times 52 per cent of people who identify as BAME are concerned about their finances compared to 45 per cent of white people.

We have witnessed racial injustice in real time, amplifying the need to address bias and prejudice with Black Lives Matter leading the conversation. So how do we take all of these moments in time to the workplace which touch our colleagues and clients?

A new approach

The power of conversations has never been as critical as they are today and finding a simple and inclusive way to smash the stigma of mental ill-health and grow in confidence to talk about race requires us to feel uncomfortable.

How often do we ask a colleague or a client “how are you?” and then move onto the conversation which we are so eager to cover.

We ask the question with little time for an authentic answer yet we ascribe such importance to the question. The question is powerful and can change how we connect with each other and equally how well we know ourselves.

I am fortunate to be a member of an Advisory Board for a fresh approach called FormScore. 

Recognising that we all have mental wellbeing which fluctuates daily and even hourly, FormScore is a wonderfully inclusive and simple way of noticing and communicating how we are feeling. 

Scoring your mental wellbeing out of ten each day and sharing with trusted colleagues and friends via the app provides a new and inclusive language to facilitate much needed connections and a safe space to be vulnerable.

Lets talk about race

Stepping into the conversation with devoted listening and curiosity as you learn what your colleagues and clients are experiencing is an important first step.

Mindful and conscious conversations help us appreciate the impact legacy behaviours have had on our colleagues and clients.

With this comes compassion and empathy, anyone that has ever shared their vulnerability in the workplace will know this takes courage. With this comes change.

As we move from conversation to action, the confidence to review our processes to remove biases that exist can only improve the relationships we have with our colleagues and clients.