Together we can create a healthy and mentally strong workforce
At Bupa, we firmly believe in supporting good mental health both in and outside the workplace. As awareness of the importance of workforce mental health develops, I believe that Bupa has a vital role to play in leading the conversation.
Bupa UK recently sponsored the Confederation of British Industries’ (CBI) health and wellbeing report – Front of Mind, which highlights the importance of prioritising mental health support. I was pleased to speak about the work that Bupa UK does on mental health at the report launch in September, and again last week, when I met with a number of senior HR leads from across financial services and the legal profession to discuss the report in more detail.
At this event, I spoke about a variety of actions Bupa UK has taken to promote good mental health, both amongst our corporate clients and our own workforce. At Bupa we are proud that the UK Insurance Executive Team became the first in the UK to become Mental Health First Aiders (MHFA) after completing the two-day course. This increased our personal literacy in mental health, and gave us the tools to help others. However, it also opened up some fantastic conversations between us. This takes the total number of Mental Health First Aiders in the UK Insurance business to 50, with all physical first aiders and people managers also due to receive training. I am a firm supporter of leading by example and believe that by making health and wellbeing a leadership priority, leaders can play a crucial role in creating a workplace environment in which people feel comfortable talking about their mental health and asking for support when they need it.
I also spoke about the importance of early intervention and taking a holistic approach to mental health. Leaders shared their insights on the links between poor financial health and poor mental health, including the pressures of university debt and housing concerns. We also heard that millennials expect to receive the best possible mental health support in the workplace, and this is a cultural change that I believe organisations should welcome - but also be prepared for. I spoke about the value of high-quality Employee Assistance Programmes - here at Bupa we have Healthy Minds. Early intervention is key in ensuring that our workforce is supported and feels able to bring the best versions of themselves to work.
I have been encouraged in my time at Bupa to meet representatives from many organisations, from SMEs to large corporations, who are increasing their focus on mental health. It feels like we are at a tipping point in the UK. It is clear that no single company, charity or organisation can solve the challenges of mental health – but, by working together, and by sharing insights, successes and failures, I am confident that we can continue to make strong progress on a topic that matters so much.
Tackling the challenges of creating a healthy and mentally strong workforce requires input from all sections of society, including employers, charities and the Government; I believe this report will play a vital role in advancing the conversation.