Time To Act

Time To Act

Many of us admit to excessive device use, linked to the expectation of being always ‘on’ and responsive. This is just one example of stress being exerted on workers, but what is next?  Rejection of the ease of communication or learning ways to not flip out at 11pm when you get another urgent email from a demanding client or co-worker? Studies point to a clear recognition that we need to listen, care and act when it comes to the way we conduct our lives whether at work or at home. This is why the BPMA has chosen MIND as its charity for the next two years. 
As Chairman, I wanted to choose a charity that would positively impact people’s lives and make a real difference. It needed to be a charity that was national for ll our members and be close to many within our industry. I recently had cause to look into what help there is and MIND was both supportive and accessible. We want to raise awareness of the importance of wellbeing and how to cope with mental health issues for our members, and we want to raise money for the charity.

Close to home

Our industry has become so fast-paced that day-to-day pressures can take their toll without us realising. 
From speaking to my colleagues and their staff, mental health affects many individuals at varying degrees. Many of us grew up in a culture where we were expected to “pull yourself together” or “just get on with it”,  and we did,  or so we thought. Now that I have two teenage daughters, I’ve had a change of perspective and understand the importance of looking after mental health. I’m amazed how many young people struggle with social anxieties and pressures which make it difficult for them to apply for jobs, go out in large groups or even have the confidence to talk to colleagues. It’s more common than we realise and sometimes it’s the daftest little things that can trigger anxiety and depression. Those that don’t understand it laugh it off which results in those struggling to close up and become more insular. Sometimes the sufferer doesn’t even know they are struggling 

Work change

The workplace is changing and we need to change the way we support our employees too. We want to help members to create working environments where staff at all levels can talk openly and freely about how they feel, where they feel listened to and respected. Sometimes making a few small changes to the working day can make all the difference. That’s why I find myself encouraging lunchtime walks or walking meetings among other things  

BPMA initatives 

The BPMA have created a programme of mental health awareness days (12th June Surrey and the 25th of June in Manchester). It is hoped to bring members together to share in a practical day of thought provoking learning, enabling us to understand legal and physiological implications,as well as creative ways to encourage and support employees. Many of our members have been affected by mental health challenges and in some cases their businesses have suffered. I am keen to hear from members willing to share their stories to help others. I’ve been amazed at how many have already said they are willing to take part and share their thoughts and stories at our awareness days as they feel this is a really proactive step the BPMA is taking. Every business will need to have a mental health first aider in years to come and so it makes sense to start training line managers now.
Posted on Friday, May 17, 2019 12:00 AM