• Jane Fordham

World Mental Health Day 2018 – It’s a Mad World…

Updated: Oct 10, 2018

#madworldLDN #WorldMentalHealthDay

So much momentum, such a positive, collaborative atmosphere yesterday at the inaugural Mad World Summit. Huge kudos to Simon Berger, Mark Pichou, Claire Farrow and Ian Jindall for putting on this event with such astonishing content and a focus on action. A true embarrassment of riches in terms of thought-provoking content, here’s my top 10 quotes from the event;

1. “Our goal is to completely eliminate the stigma of mental health in all UK workplaces,” stated Mad World co-founder Simon Berger in his welcome address.

2. Geoff McDonald, pre-eminent mental health campaigner and host of the summit. He kicked things off with an impassioned call to action, “Let’s turn mental wellness into a strategic enabler!”

3. “You’re worried about millennials want at work? Too late. They’re already parents and sitting on boards. Get ready for Gen Z and create a workplace they want to be in,” said workplace designer Kristoff Dubose of Cirkularis8 on a Next Gen Wellbeing panel.

4. Also from Kristoff on the same panel, “Our approach to workplace productivity was born in the industrial revolution. Er hello, its 2018 and we’re part of a knowledge economy, time to change!”

5. “Presenteeism is a bigger cause of workplace under-performance than sickness. Get real corporate UK.” said the charismatic Professor Sir Cary Cooper CBE.

6. Sir Anthony Seldon of Buckingham University was impressive and incredibly sensitive delivering personal insights on the emotional wellbeing of Gen Z, “They are learning to live their lives with everyone watching and judging. The more time teens spend looking at screens, the more likely they are to report symptoms of depression.”

7. PwC’s Wellbeing Lead Sally Evans shared inspiring insights into how they are placing wellbeing at the heart of the new joiner and first five years’ experience. Perhaps not surprising from a brand that recently invited staff to design their own working patterns.

8. Brendan Street of Nuffield Health was compelling and candid about the under-investment and knowledge gaps in this space, “Only 11% of employees feel able to talk to their line manager and 15% of employees who do disclose face dismissal.”

9. Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Sir Vince Cable was a surprise speaker to bring the day to a conclusion with a ‘fireside’ chat. “300,000 lose their jobs every year because of mental health issues. Costs UK economy between £75 and £100bn pa.”

10. Last word belongs to Geoff McDonald, “If we can have the conversation anything is possible. If we can’t, nothing is.”

A natural optimist, I am greatly encouraged by the progress and the profile that this issue is getting amongst UK businesses. However, in fitting with the theme of World Mental Health Day focussing on young people, I did leave the event very aware of the threat to the mental health of our children. One figure, forgive me I don’t know the source, is haunting me; one in four teenage girls now self-harms. If we are just at a tipping point of addressing mental health in the workplace, I am delighted BUT, as a matter of societal urgency, I’d suggest focus and resources commensurate with the risk are directed at safeguarding our children’s future health.

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