As we approach World Mental Health Day, 2021, it strikes me how there has never been a better time to talk about looking after mental health and wellbeing. The last eighteen months have taken their toll on every person I know, to a greater or lesser degree. It’s more important than ever before that we take time to look after ourselves and each other.
Here at PCD, we have always been very open about mental health issues. Over 50% of our workforce have encountered challenges to their mental health, myself included. It’s to be expected though really, when you think about it – even before COVID, the human brain was surely not wired to deal with the multiple inputs that it is forced to cope with these days. Digital devices, distractions, social media, societal pressure to be everything to everyone and smile all the while; it’s no wonder we find ourselves struggling. I’ve always compared mental health to physical health; you wouldn’t ignore a physical ailment, from a common cold to a serious long-term condition, you would probably seek relief or treatment of some kind. Mental ailments in my view are no different. We need to acknowledge them openly and get support, in whatever form that takes; but sadly the stigma attached to mental illness still lingers.
PCD’s culture is rooted in the principle that we look after each other. We do this in lots of ways. Our flexible working policy helps our employees manage work-life balance; we have invested in an Employee Assistance Programme, which can offer free access to things like counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy; we make sure to have at least 3 team “huddles” per week, as well as regular social events to celebrate the team; and we offer individuals the chance to complete a Wellness Action Plan, to share with colleagues so that we can spot the signs of when someone is struggling or in need of help. An organisation is only ever as good as its people, and at PCD I believe our people are our strongest asset. And why wouldn’t you cherish your strongest asset?
So I encourage everyone to talk to each other this World Mental Health Day, maybe reach out to a friend, family member or colleague you’ve not spoken to in a while, or just consciously do something that makes you feel happy! Take care of you and yours, and stay safe.
Laura Sherburn, CEO