Our perception of mental health has greatly changed through the years. Mental health wasn’t something to talk about, particularly at work. It was associated with someone being mentally ill, leading to potential stigmatisation and social exclusion. Over time, we’ve gained a greater understanding and acceptance for mental health. Influential people, celebrities and executive members of large companies have talked publicly about their personal journeys, struggling with mental health issues, raising awareness. They’ve shown us that it doesn’t need to be an obstacle to our success.
But what exactly is mental health?
“Mental health includes our emotional, psychological and social wellbeing. It affects how we think, feel and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.” (Mental Health Foundation).
Mental health is neither good nor bad, but rather something we all have, just like our physical health. Imagine mental health as a spectrum, we all fall on the spectrum, but some are closer to good mental wellbeing while others are closer to poor. Where we fall on this spectrum is not permanent, we can move up and down because of biological factors, lifestyle choices or life experiences. Certain lifestyle factors are undoubtedly influenced by our work life, whether it’s workplace stress, poor relations with colleagues (Mind, 2018) or long hours; it is clear that our work life is an important environment to address the factors that impact our mental health.
At LACE Partners we are serious about mental health.
People’s wellbeing is at the heart of our LACE values
“When Aaron, Cathy and I founded LACE three years ago, one of our key objectives was to be fundamentally different. A large part of this is in how we treat people. We treat others the way we would wish to be treated ourselves, including respecting work/life balance and ensuring that we have positive open communication. I’m passionate about breaking down mental health stigmas and I think we do a good job of making sure that our people feel supported and empowered around wellness. We are committed to continuing to keep going with these positive actions and messaging around mental health.” Jenny Alburey, Co-Founder and Research Director of LACE Partners
You can find a more personal story from Jenny here.
We are a Mindful Employer
LACE Partners has signed the mindful employer charter. What does this mean?
We are positive about mental health
- We signed the charter to demonstrate our commitment to the mental wellbeing of all our LACE team.
- We recognise that given appropriate support, the majority of people who have experienced mental ill health continue to work successfully as do many with ongoing issues.
- We aim to provide non-judgemental and proactive support to individual team members who experience mental health issues.
- We aim to ensure all line managers have information and training about managing mental health in the workplace.
We believe every employer should care:
Mental health issues are common in the workplace:
In 2016, mental health issues (including stress, depression, anxiety and more serious conditions such as manic depression and schizophrenia) resulted in 15.8 million lost days, that’s 11.5% of all days lost due to sickness. (Office for National Statistics, 2017) Overall, mental ill health costs UK employers an estimated £35 billion each year! That’s £10.6 billion in sickness absence, £21.2 billion in presenteeism (people coming to work and underperforming due to ill health), and £3.1 billion in replacing staff who leave their jobs for mental health-related reasons. (Centre for Mental Health, Mental Health at Work Report, 2017)
We are committed to taking care of our people, so we take mental health seriously.
Stigma and lack of awareness can stop people from talking about their mental health, delaying them from getting the support needed for recovery.
At LACE, we know it’s action that matters: we invest in the mental health of our people.
In March, we sent the LACE Research team on a Mental Health First Aid training course with Mental Health First Aid England.
“The training provided us with the knowledge and the skills to signpost someone dealing with poor mental health to get the help that they need. It provided us with the confidence and ability to respond in the right way when people want to discuss their mental health. Now our team know that, should they ever need help, there is always a point of contact. We are there to support them.” Eirini Argyri, LACE Research Consultant
A large body of research identifies exercise and physical activity as vital to maintaining good mental health and reducing the risk of anxiety and depression.
LACE offers all permanent employees a subsidised gym membership. We encourage our team to go to the gym as part of their working day and many LACErs (what we call our team) are already seeing the benefits.
Another LACE initiative is PACE with LACE, where a LACEr can ask a colleague to join them for a walk outside, taking a break from working in front of a screen, guilt-free. LACErs are seeing the benefits of physical activity and being outdoors, returning with improved mood and boosted productivity.
The recent Mental Health Awareness week saw many companies showing their ability to step up and become part of the discussion on Mental Health. We know it’s easy to pay attention to mental health during one week in the year but, for LACE, this focus is important all year round. We are committed to always being open, accepting and supportive to our employees and associates alike and we are always improving.
What we do for our clients
We have carefully selected technical and service partners who care about people. Here are a couple of examples:
360 Health & Performance is a consultancy operating in personal wellness, corporate wellness and professional sport. Their team of healthcare practitioners, clinicians and coaches are passionate about helping people thrive. 360’s neuroscience-based approach recognises the body and brain as a system and their technology and education gives personalised insight into both. They empower people to live better and organisations to perform better.
Emoquo – A digital coaching app that is changing the way we think about and manage mental health and emotional resilience at work. Emoquo combines the power of a revolutionary digital coaching app and a real-time analytics heatmap underpinned by an Emotional Resilience Model based on robust research and years of experience. The Emoquo app gives people the skills, knowhow, insights and coping mechanisms that empower them to counteract personalities or obstacles, while boosting workplace confidence.
Some thoughts for you:
- Talk openly about mental health – so that those around them know it’s ok to do the same without there being a stigma attached to doing so.
- Consider funding mental health first aid training for key people within the organisation – it’s worth the investment, in fact there is a people risk to your business if you don’t have trained people.
- Make it clear that mental health medical appointments such as counselling will be treated the same as physical medical appointments under company policy, and that reasonable time off for these will be allowed.
- Consider signing up to the Mindful Employer charter so you can work towards to a clear set of guidelines and let your team know you care about mental health.
Find out more about our offerings here.