Mental health 2.0: what next for the worried well?

It's Mental Health Awareness Week - Rupert Cornford believes there is a step change happening in business

The conversation about mental health is changing. From the taboo subject it was a few years ago, to the stories of high-profile individuals sharing their stories of struggle and organisations waking up to the reality, we are in a very different place in 2017.

And that’s a very good thing for a group of people getting bigger by the day: ‘the worried well.’

We spend a lot of time at work, it creates unique opportunities and pressures, which might make it a good place to deal with this unexploded bomb.

I’ve been inspired in recent years by the stories of entrepreneurs Vikas Shah and more recently Sam Jones, who have very publicly shared their struggles with depression and anxiety; there are more just like them sharing in private.

These stories create confidence and permission for people to share with their friends and colleagues. For some they make it OK, for others, just enough encouragement to talk.

So, I now feel like we are now at the point where things can change. We share, we explore and then we find ways of not just coping but thriving – supporting the outcomes which help us to move forward.

This morning’s Pro Manchester event helped with great examples of how to engage people in safe-space conversations from London start-up Sanctus; mindfulness initiatives at KPMG and the broad spectrum of a ‘wellbeing’ approach from Deloitte.

Hannah Johnson, my colleague at Carter Corson, also shared a psychologist’s perspective on building a resilient organisation and there are some very simple foundations.

Do you have the resources and communication to do your job? How about a balanced workload? Good working conditions? Security? Control? These are the foundations of productivity and engagement and ultimately better mental health.

If you add in the psychological factors of social support, confidence, purposefulness and adaptability and we are moving towards a good place as people.

Our ability to listen – and I mean really listen – also enables people to feel heard and offers a chance to uncover the real story.

So, what are we all doing to support ourselves and others we work with? Good mental health is important and it can start with a simple conversation.