Mental-health-at-work

Each year one in four UK residents experience a mental health problem.

In light of Mental Health Awareness Week, Richard Seville, Senior HR Manager at P&G, explains how P&G is committing to supporting mental wellbeing in the workplace.

At P&G, the wellbeing of all our employees is an absolute priority. Good mental health is just as important as good physical health, which is why it must be taken seriously, especially within the workplace.
Mental health is a spectrum which we all fluctuate along from time to time. Like physical health, mental health issues can be a one-off experience or a longer term condition. At P&G we are acutely aware of the different approaches that may need to be taken when helping employees to manage their mental wellbeing in the workplace. For us, it is important to be proactive and ensure that we are taking measures to prevent mental health problems, rather than just waiting for them to appear and then dealing with them.

One of the most challenging aspects of addressing poor mental health in the workplace is creating attitudinal change and removing the stigma which surrounds the subject.

P&G’s Healthy Minds programme was first launched in September 2014. Our main priority is to initiate a conversation within our organisation on this important but still somewhat taboo and misunderstood topic. Our work on the Healthy Minds initiative is built upon the foundation that conversation surrounding mental health should be normalised within the workplace, in order to enable early intervention and create a mentally healthy environment. The programme includes poster campaigns, an ongoing internal and external speaker series sharing personal experiences, the creation of a Healthy Minds Champions Network, and the launch and roll out of a bespoke training session for line managers.

Our Healthy Minds Champions Network was established with the intention of a visible and independent avenue of support if employees have any questions or queries regarding mental health. The Healthy Minds Champions Network is formed entirely of volunteers, from all levels within our business, who have attended a two day mental health first aid practitioner course. Launched only in September 2015, the network has continued to grow as word has spread about the work the network is doing, with many others throughout the company becoming inspired to volunteer as well. Our Healthy Minds for Line Managers training has been created in-house and, in addition to building line manager knowledge in this area, clearly sets the expectations of the Company to proactively create a positive team culture in this area.

Employees who have been engaged with the programme have all been keen to learn more and build their knowledge in the area of mental health and how they can be a part of building a stigma-free workplace. A notable number of employees have shared their pride of working for a business proactively addressing this topic. We are by no means there yet, but I am very proud of the work P&G has done to build a culture within which conversations about mental health are entirely normal.