As we look back to October’s Mental Health Week, it’s important to think and talk about how businesses enable their employees – and society as a whole – to understand and take ownership of their mental health journey.
In this blog, I want to explore one way of thinking about mental health in the workplace – and give an overview of some of the ways that Fnality works to support our people to manage and maintain their wellbeing.
Mental health is a human right
Despite the increased awareness and dialogue around mental health in the professional world, there remain many misconceptions and misunderstandings about how wellbeing issues happen – and how to identify them.
Mental health problems don’t arise from nowhere. They relate to our personal situation and are intrinsically linked to physical health. Our thoughts, moods and attitudes all happen as part of our brain activity – which itself is related to how effective our body is at supporting brain health. Mental health is interwoven with other regular health factors, including exercise, meditation and hormonal imbalances, and understanding this holistic element is important in thinking about how we can maintain our own mental health.
By treating mental wellbeing with the same significance as physical health we are one step closer to creating sustainable approaches to healthy living.
Awareness is key
To be in a position where we can focus on our mental health, we need to be aware of these relationships and interactions between our personal situation, physical health and mental state. People tend to miss out mental health from their regular routine. While many people exercise regularly, fewer people schedule regular time to review their own mental wellbeing or that of others.
Self-awareness is important, as it’s an opportunity to connect with yourself. Retrospectively looking at how events or challenges make you feel, eating well and identifying stressors are all important ways to ensure problems don’t build up and deteriorate. With the right approach that starts with personal awareness of how and when mental health issues emerge, it’s much easier to spot them and take concrete action to manage them.
At Fnality, we have put in place a number of practical steps and support systems for people to access quick, professional support for any physical and mental health concerns that they have.
We have three mental health first aiders, who are available whenever employees need a check in. People can have an informal chat about any personal issues or struggles – and have a reliable place to go for advice about other support on offer.
We’ve provided a number of resources to employees too, to help them find out information or access more formal support in the way that suits them. These include the our Headspace app, which helps people to practice mindfulness and meditation, and to work through problems in an informed way. Privately-covered counselling is also available through our medical provider, along with a 24/7 mental health helpline, so people can get help at any time of the day.
The point is to provide a comprehensive and flexible range of mental health options. Not everyone is the same, and not everyone wants to talk with a coworker versus a professional – or vice versa. By giving people a variety of supportive spaces, they can work through problems in the way they choose and access professional medical care when it’s needed.
Because not everyone is willing or able to talk, Fnality also provides and encourages “wellbeing days”, as well as emergency and personal leave allowances to every employee. These can be taken once a quarter, without notice, at the user’s discretion. That means that if there’s a crisis that people may not want to discuss, big or small, then people can take time off at short notice, no questions asked.
None of this can be one without first recognising the importance of mental health, and being aware of the variety of ways it can manifest. By understanding the diversity of experiences that mental health covers, we can build the broad, inclusive approach to improving it that our employees and societies deserve.
Let’s start the conversation
To help people talk about mental health, we know how important it is to provide the space and time to do it. At Fnality, we’re always interested in hearing new voices and views, so if this blog has highlighted any gaps or discussions you want to have, drop a comment below or reach out to us directly.
And if you’re interested in just hearing more about us, who we are and what we do in the world of wholesale finance, feel free to come along and visit us at https://www.fnality.org/home