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Why mental health should be a priority for companies

Manon Durin on why she will only work for companies which prioritise her mental and physical health.

Manon Durin, Ingenuity London

PR Account Manager

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Every September, Blood Cancer Awareness Month raises awareness and understanding of blood cancers. A year ago, this is not something I would have known. 

I felt something wasn’t right in my body; I was often sick and was constantly falling asleep at random times of the day. This shouldn’t happen to a heathy girl in her late twenties, right? 

When doctors told me that I had stage 2 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in January, my world fell apart. I had recently left my job and was about to start a new one.  

Announcing to my new bosses and colleagues on my first day that I had cancer and had to leave England immediately to start my treatment in France was hard. They had been waiting for me to start for months, and I felt I was letting them down. It sounds stupid now, but at the time I thought I would lose my job. 

Announcing to my new bosses and colleagues on my first day that I had cancer and had to leave England immediately to start my treatment in France was hard

Manon Durin, PR Account Manager at Ingenuity London

How wrong was I. Ingenuity supported me and went above and beyond. The way work responded to me made me realise they were the right company for me, but also that going forward, I would only work for companies that prioritise both my mental and my physical health. 

This is not just about the person who is experiencing symptoms of mental and physical illness, it's about everyone. How are your colleagues doing? Do you take enough time to interact with them? Are you aware that your behaviour can have a positive or negative impact on their psychological health and safety? Do you participate in the mental health initiatives implemented in your company? If you are a manager, what do your employees need to work well and feel good at work? 

This is not just about the person who is experiencing symptoms of mental and physical illness, it's about everyone.

Manon Durin, PR Account Manager at Ingenuity London

To be interested in mental health is finally to realize that this issue must be addressed by companies with a holistic approach - as it is intertwined with other topics such as physical well-being, recognition, the work environment, new ways of working (including teleworking or managerial practices). 

I've seen how much of a difference it can make when people are actively concerned about their colleagues' health—and how much better it is for everyone when we all feel safe and supported at work! 

Talking about mental health at work has a number of benefits for employees, their co-workers and the company itself. When team members see their co-workers and leaders talking about their own mental health issues, it can make them feel less alone—which can make the process feel a bit easier to navigate. 

If you want to create a work environment that supports mental health, it’s not enough to talk the talk

Manon Durin, PR Account Manager at Ingenuity London

From awareness to action

If you want to create a work environment that supports mental health, it’s not enough to talk the talk. You also have to walk the walk—and that means putting processes, systems, and initiatives in place that foster physical, mental, and emotional wellness at work. 

The mental wellbeing of every employee needs to be a priority. Not only for the safety and health of the workforce but also for the company overall. Looking after employee mental health results in reduced absences, improved staff retention and better staff performance. 

If you want your employees—and your business—to thrive, prioritizing mental health in the workplace is a must. It's not just about giving people days off or allowing them to work remotely if they need to. As our client PUSH explains, it's about creating an environment where people feel safe and supported enough to share their struggles, and where they can find help when they need it. A company that truly cares about its employees' well-being will actively encourage them to talk about their struggles and seek out additional support when needed. 

Something we should all be thinking of in the warm up to World Mental Health Day. 

Guest Author

Manon Durin, Ingenuity London

PR Account Manager

About

Manon Durin is a PR Account Manager at Ingenuity London and has been with the Agency for almost a year, following three years working at Pumpkin PR. She is passionate about brand strategy, media and communications, and storytelling of all forms. Manon has a particular interest in human rights and equality, health and environmental causes.

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