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Mental Health Awareness Week

The week of 13-19 May marks Mental Health Awareness Week. 15% of working-age adults live with a mental disorder, and globally, it is estimated that 12 billion working days are lost every year to depression and anxiety alone. In the UK, it is estimated that around 30–40% of the sickness absence is attributable to some form of mental illness. 

It is increasingly recognised that poor mental health and high-stress levels have a broader impact on overall health and fitness, contributing to a range of physical illnesses like hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular conditions. In addition, poor mental health can lead to employee burnout, seriously affecting their ability to contribute meaningfully in both their personal and professional lives.

Worryingly, only 29% of employees say they feel supported when it comes to mental health, and this should be taken seriously, as employees now view mental health as almost on par with physical health.

However, it is possible to cultivate an environment that supports good mental health and also improves productivity. It’s been shown that employees who feel supported and valued by their employers report higher job satisfaction, better productivity and lower rates of absenteeism. These benefits also have positive ripple effects on team morale, as colleagues feel more connected and supported by each other. With evidence suggesting that 12.7% of all sickness absence days in the UK can be attributed to mental health conditions, there’s a strong business case to be made for supporting mental health at work.

At Talent Insight Group, our mental health initiatives bring two of our core values (we care and we do the right thing) to life. We support our colleagues by offering free counselling and life coaching sessions to help them navigate challenging moments and facilitating regular non-work check-ins to help them feel connected and supported as a team, even when working apart.

The theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is Movement: Moving more for our mental health. Research has shown that regular physical activity can make us happier and healthier. Our bodies release feel-good hormones when we're active, which can reduce anxiety and stress and help us sleep better.​ By building movement into our working day, we can have a positive impact on productivity and focus. So, with that in mind, we asked our team how they added movement to their day.

Commercial Director,  Paul Ryder

"For me, there's nothing quite like taking time out and spending time on our family allotment and getting away from the hustle and bustle. There's always something to do on an allotment, whatever the time of year, but especially in the Spring and Summer months. Spending time outdoors, surrounded by greenery and wildlife and seeing the fruits of your labours grow (literally) in front of you. Simply enjoying the sunshine (well, some of the time), the quiet and tranquillity helps recharge the batteries and deal with stress."

Head of Marketing, Sam Collier

“In recent years, surfing has become my obsession. The benefits of ‘blue health’ and cold water therapy have become well-known, with cold water swims and all sorts of water sports rising in popularity since the pandemic forced us all to look closer to home. For me, there’s something special about the ritual of surfing, beholden to the forecasts and the tides, the complete focus once you’re in the water and the utter magic of riding a wave. It forces you to live completely in the moment, and however much you may debate it when the conditions aren’t exactly tropical, you never regret getting in the sea.”

Joint Managing Director, Tim Gleave

“Walking is my main activity. Since the start of 2023, I have walked over 12,000 steps a day on average and often stroll home from the office, which takes around 80 minutes! I genuinely find that walking clears my head and reduces the stresses and strains of a busy working life. It also helps me feel fitter and healthier in general.”

Senior Research Manager, Emma Forbes

“This year, I’ve been trying out some new hobbies to meet people and stay active. I’ve re-joined my local gym and started doing yoga and golf for the first time. As a fully remote worker, I think it’s really important to have a reason to leave the house during the week, so signing up for different activities helps keep me accountable. Currently, I’m taking a beginner golf course for women, and I’m loving it! It’s once a week and just gives me a fun way to unwind after work and get some steps in. I’ve really enjoyed chatting with new people, and it’s brought out my competitive side as I’m constantly trying to improve with each shot. I’m no Tiger Woods yet, but watch this space!”

Joint Managing Director, David Steel

“Whilst my football playing and athletics days ended around the time of university in the late '90s, I still remain active each week to keep both my physical fitness and emotional wellbeing in check. I always do my best to get out for a walk, either across lunchtime or at the end of the working day, on the 2-3 days a week I work from home. I get to the gym 1-2 times a week (which, if I miss, I really notice in a few different ways), and during the summer, I’m a keen gardener. There is nothing better than a day’s graft out in the sunshine surrounded by acers, heucheras and the like! All of these activities definitely do just as much for my soul as they do for my body!”