“We need employer action not just ‘awareness’ around mental health”

Stanford University academics wrote this plea claiming that awareness days do little good six years ago – yet in the years since, these days have only grown in number and variety. Surely you didn’t miss last week’s Time To Talk mental health awareness day, and you’re making the most of February as Boost Your Self Esteem Month?

HR departments often use these events as the basis of their annual ‘wellbeing calendar’ – and they can be a useful framework to make employees aware of the wellbeing offerings their companies provide. But used poorly, these days only invite a backlash. After all, what use is awareness of an issue if there’s no action taken to address it?

“The worst case scenario is announcing something like Time To Talk [to be more open about mental health] and then not having the resources to back it up, such as a counselling service,” says Steve Iley, chief medical officer at Jaguar Land Rover. “There’s no point urging people to ‘get support’ if in fact you haven’t got any to offer. ‘That will destroy your well-being brand and reduce employee engagement,” he warns.


This article was written by Libby Galvin on behalf of The Watercooler for the Evening Standard.