8 Oct

Mental Health Awareness Day, October 10th 2021

By Harry Hancock, Mental Health Lead + Senior Account Manager on the Lead Gen team. 

In recent times, Mental Health has been thrust into the spotlight more than ever before, and with good reason. The past 18 months have been shit. From living lives of uncertainty – sat staring out the window of a second floor, gardenless flat – to all the fearmongering and, more recently, the gradual return to “normality”… It’s been a wild ride!

But we’re now seeing real change and advocacy in the Mental Health space. As organisations have adapted to remote working, meaning wellbeing and staff check-ins are becoming commonplace. More and more people are talking and opening up about their experiences, their journeys and how employers are offering their support. Organisations are really starting to take Mental Health seriously.

I’ve seen a number of businesses starting to opt-in to Mental Health sick day policies, and designating champions to act as conduits, offering support for employees. Although these may seem small changes, the benefits can be enormous. Having personally suffered through a really dark time during the lockdown period, dealing with periods of severe depression and weight gain, I had the realisation that despite the positive imagery being projected on social media of “productive lockdowns,” there would be other people feeling like me.

In the words of Albus Dumbledore, “Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light,” and so I sought for a way to change things.

Within Ingenuity, I was fortunate enough to be given the support to pursue a Mental Health First Aid course and as an extension of this, I worked to set up a Mental Health team internally – to really take people’s wellbeing seriously.

So, what does the Mental Health team do? Alongside my colleagues Kirsty, Kate and Marie – we are striving to enact change within the business through the likes of educational sessions and reactive presentations. During these sessions we cover off things such as different types of mental health and how to recognise them -– for example the impact of social media on our health, alongside pushing for internal change including Mental Health policies and partnerships to help support our journey. As well as this we also have a completely open-door policy for all colleagues should they need confidential support. We are also looking to implement further training courses.

To help keep the team connected as we navigate our hybrid working model, we’re continuing to embrace a calendar of both physical and virtual positive work socials…Through the Keyhole, anyone?! We also have other non-work-related activities, such as our D&I Book Club. It’s initiatives like these that have really helped create an Ingenuity I’m proud to be a part of.

And what’s my goal? Well, if just one person in the company feels educated and empowered enough to able to speak to a colleague, a family member, or friend, and notice when they need support – well, I’ll consider that mission accomplished.