The City Mental Health Alliance [CMHA] held a prestigious event at global business information provider Bloomberg on 23 November. The CMHA Annual Event 2016 was to commemorate its four-year anniversary, and the audience heard about the journey so far from outgoing Chairman Pete Rodgers, KPMG International.
“What struck me about the momentum and drive, and all that CMHA has achieved in such a short time, is that the members attribute that to their sharing and learning together approach,” comments Elizabeth Rimmer, Chief Executive of LawCare. “This is a similar ethos to the one we are engendering in the Legal Professions Mental Health and Wellbeing Taskforce, where the sharing of information and best practice is what we hope will help to raise awareness and diminish the stigma attached to talking about mental health issues.”
A panel of six CHMA members then shared their organisations’ wellbeing strategies, and the sometimes simple techniques they used to get people to open up and share their own workplace experiences. For Beth Taylor of PwC, it was literally giving people ‘the green light to talk’, in the form of a green ribbon, which people wore to indicate they were open to conversation about mental health. Up to 2,500 people wore that green ribbon.
The other panelists – from Bloomberg, Deloitte, Slaughter and May, Lloyds Bank and Unum – also shared their experiences of workplace mental health strategies and whether they were effective, while David Brewin of EY told his personal story of depression.
“The personal story is a powerful way to connect with people, and to help them understand that they can talk about mental health issues, particularly when they come from senior people,” concludes Ms Rimmer. “What I want to bring back to the taskforce from this event is some of the energy and conviction that this is the way forward, that we’re on the right track, that stigma can be reduced, and that a work environment that supports good mental health will be seen as standard.”