It was on a year-long sabbatical as a Knight-Wallace Fellow and subsequently a visiting Fellow at the University of Michigan Depression Centre that I wanted to see how we could build a space of openness, support and encouragement at work. I visited financial and media giants in New York and London to see what mental health initiatives worked best and what needed to be put in place to enable anyone to admit they’re in trouble and ask for help. This lead me to launch the BBC’s first staff mental health programme and play a key role in the UK government’s independent report into the whole issue.
The findings of my research and the government report were relatively simple. Safe and quiet spaces, the right resources promoted well and a handle on why people are really off sick are vital. But it’s authentic and confident trailblazers at work who really have the biggest impact and can turn around a culture at work. This chapter explores the need for workplace mental health initiatives, the lessons from one of the largest ever reports into the subject held in the UK and the challenges of launching a programme in a large organisation like the BBC.
KeywordsWork Support Wellbeing Workplace Employer Employee Mental health Help Mental health initiative
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