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Mental Health Matters - How Barclays Dispels Stigma In The Workplace

  October 10, 2016   

To celebrate World Mental Health Day, MyPlus is focusing on how employers, graduates and students overcome challenges related mental health.

Today, we are sharing employer insights from Mark McLane, global head of diversity and inclusion at Barclays.

Barclays & Mental Health

Barclays 'This Is Me' campaign has been running since 2013. The campaign aims to raise awareness for mental health in the workplace so that employees feel more comfortable about being open with colleagues and more confident in seeking help.

Speaking of the campaign, Mark commented:

'This Is Me' set out to tackle the lack of understanding about how to best support colleagues with mental health issues, as well as a hesitancy to speak out about the topic itself.

As a result of this global campaign, Barclays has seen a real shift towards a different cultural tone around managing and supporting colleague wellbeing.

The campaign was driven and designed by colleagues with personal experience of managing their own mental health and wellness. Barclays has a very active disability network, Reach, committed to helping the business become an even more disability confident organisation. Reach members were the motivation and inspiration for the campaign and were featured in the stories that brought it to life.

The campaign was built on their experiences and has a three-fold approach. First, it features the personal stories of colleagues talking about their lives including their own mental health and wellness. Mark suggests that authentic story-telling truly engages people and, when led by colleagues, it leads to real inclusion and builds a sense of trust. However daunting it may seem at the start, this approach encourages more people to speak out about their own experiences.

Second, the campaign focuses on improving the basics – identifying and addressing areas for improvement, for example through manager training and policy reviews. Third, Barclays made an external commitment to breaking the stigma related to mental health issues by signing the Time to Change pledge, demonstrating a sustainable commitment to mental health and wellness.

As a result of the response from other businesses, Barclays has partnered with the Lord Mayor’s Appeal, Mind, Business Healthy and the City Mental Health Alliance on 'This is Me in the City'. This collaboration aims to scale up awareness of mental health and reduce stigma in the workplace by engaging businesses across the City of London.

Caroline, senior manager in Barclays retail business, added:

'This Is Me' has changed lives and given a voice to an important subject that touches everyone.

I have had depression for 20 years and think it’s really important to open up the subject matter and make it easier to discuss in the workplace without any kind of stigma. My line manager was amazing. Sometimes it’s difficult to identify tangible things that can be done to help, but just knowing they support you and will give you the time you need to take to heal is the best support there is. My top tip: keep time for you – 30 minutes walking at lunch really helps to clear your mind.”

From just 9 stories, over 160 stories have now been shared as part of the campaign. You can learn more about Barclays' approach to disability and watch Finance graduate, Uzair’s story on the Barclays' MyPlus profile here.