It seems a rather apt time to be supporting Mental Health Awareness Week. We’re navigating ourselves through pretty tough seas at the moment; no one quite understands how to row the boat, nor what the destination will be like when we finally hit land again. Life is confusing, frustrating, yet expectant and hopeful. In recent weeks we’ve seen communities come together, an outpouring of love for our NHS and keyworkers, and the virtual world now our main source of seeing and interacting with the physical world. All these factors and more continue to test our emotions and how we deal with them. That is why it is so important to raise awareness of mental wellbeing so we can learn how to look after ourselves and those around us.
It isn’t just in a COVID-19 world that this is important though, it should be an integral part of the way we live. Encouragingly, there have been great moves to tackle the stigma around mental health at regional, national and international levels with fantastic organisations like the Mental Health Foundation and our current Charity of the Year, Mind, doing great work in the field.
It is also essential for businesses to make mental health awareness and support key elements of our social strategies. The NEC Group is a business built on people – from promoters and organisers to employees and visitors, they are our most valuable assets, so we need to make sure we look after them. We’ve taken the Friday night social and raised it, by taking serious steps to providing a rounded approach to tackling this health issue which one in four people in the UK* will experience problems with each year.
- We’ve signed Mind and Rethink Mental Illness’ ‘Time to Change’ pledge
Demonstrating our commitment to changing the way we all think and act about mental health in the workplace
- Developed an internal wellbeing programme and ‘Wellbeing Team’
Looking after the wellbeing of employees is especially important in an environment where they can work early mornings and late nights. The team sets out an annual programme offering regular advice to employees to support good mental health on topics like the power of sleep, exercise, food, music or the theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, kindness.
- Created ‘zen zones’
Where employees can go if they need five minutes away from the hustle and bustle of life in live events.
- Trained Mental Health First Aiders for staff
A team of colleagues have been trained and armed with the tools to keep others mentally fit and undertake early intervention if they see someone struggling.
- Providing Trained Mental Health First Aiders for visitors
The success of our Mental Health First Aiders service for staff, sparked a fantastic idea from one of our colleagues - to extend this service to our audiences and make sure shows at NEC Group’s venues are as inclusive as possible. Trained with our service partner CBRE, we can now offer visitors at selected events a non-judgemental listening ear, a space to relax when things get too much, and signpost them towards further support where appropriate.
From the 18-24 May, come and join us to support Mental Health Awareness Week.
Helpful advice on looking after your mental health via Mind’s website.
*Statistic from the charity Mind