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Mental health matters - which is why Accenture celebrate its importance

  August 3, 2016   

A guest blog from Accenture.

As an organisation with over 375,000 employees worldwide, we know it’s vital to keep our employees supported at work and ensure we are encouraging their well-being as well as their professional development.

Mental health is often the elephant in the room, not talked about for fear of how it might impact your success in the workplace.

To help change this, we know we need to make more people aware and highlight how mental health in the workplace can be managed effectively. At Accenture, we are proud to incorporate this as a focus in our overall people strategy which looks at health and wellbeing holistically. We endeavor to emphasise that mental ill health has to be addressed to be supported and prevented where possible.

Mental Health Awareness Week

One of our key initiatives towards the focus on mental health is an awareness week we run every year in May. This reaffirms our commitment to the issue and during the course of the week we work with industry experts who deliver virtual learning sessions to reinforce the role it plays in our day-to-day lives. In 2016, the focus of Mental Health Awareness Week was Mindfulness. Employees were able to access more information on how The Science of Sleep (in most cases sleep deprivation) affects mental health through to experiencing live meditations each lunchtime for some relaxation without leaving their desks.

Within the wider focus was a theme of ‘Relationships’ and the role these play in our overall wellbeing. Employees were also provided with tips on how to improve relationships at work as well as daily recorded guided meditation series by email for those that registered. When practiced over time, employees learnt to understand that Mindfulness may have many positive benefits on both our personal lives and in the workplace.

Take A Look Around

Mental Health Awareness week is just one element helping our employees focus on promoting a healthy mind at home and work.

Research shows that many of us will be affected in some way, with 1 in 4 people experiencing a mental health condition in any given year.

Look around you now. Are you on the train, at work or in a room with friends or family? Mental ill health is often hidden therefore we don’t know the challenges our friends or colleagues are facing. We’ve recognised that a strong workforce is a supported one and it’s time to open these doors to more conversation and action.

Is this all just big organisation talk you ask? Absolutely not, and hopefully the introduction of our Mental Health Allies Programme (MHAP) proves this.

Mental Health Allies

The MHAP was designed to destigmatise mental health through culture change, increased knowledge and awareness. It is comprised of allies, advocates and ambassadors carrying the messages about mental resilience, mindfulness, openness, support and culture to every corner of our business in the UK. To become an ally, any employee can attend a 3-hour interactive training workshop covering signs and symptoms of common mental health conditions, gender differences within these, how to have confident conversations and emphasise the support and resources available to employees and their families. The programme launched in the UK (with global rollout planned) currently has over 550 employees from Managing Directors through to Interns pledged to create a safe environment for anyone with mental health issues.

Through education and awareness, we can promote how and why good mental and physical health means people can be at their best at work and play.

Now you might be thinking, that’s all well and good but what does it actually mean to me? The time will come when you begin considering or applying for various opportunities for when you finish school or university. Whether you experience a mental health condition yourself or not, chances are (remember 1 in 4 in a year) you might work with someone who does. Therefore, it’s important that you know there are organisations out there, including Accenture, focused on ensuring all individuals with a mental (and equally a physical condition) can thrive in a supportive workplace where conversation is open, action is present and success is possible.

To find out more about Inclusion and Diversity at Accenture please visit accenture.com.

You can also view Accenture's Great With Disability profile here.