Today marks the beginning of Mental Health Awareness Week, when hundreds of businesses, schools and communities come together to start conversations around mental health.

At Capita, we work hard to cultivate an environment that celebrates and encourages diversity of thought. This means that, regardless of your background, health, experiences or perspectives, you can bring your whole selves to work.

We want to make sure our employees can be themselves, cope through change, manage stress, build resilience – and that there’s support in place if ever they need it.

Laura Todd, Global Director of Inclusion and Wellbeing, tells us why we’re supporting Mental Health Awareness Week, and what it means to her:

“My background is within the health and social care sector. I started my career working with central and local government, co-designing services alongside amazing people, many who’d experienced mental health issues. I’ve previously suffered from depression myself and know many others who’ve also experienced similar issues. There is still such a stigma around mental illness, with many people not seeking help and suffering alone. Because of my experience, both professionally and personally, I have become very passionate about making a difference, creating awareness, and ensuring employees can focus on their wellbeing.

For example, part of our business involves our employees supporting clients through change and transformation. They work alongside clients – often on client sites – and sometimes in diverse and challenging environments, away from home. So we need to make sure that our own employees are supported to, in turn, support our clients through times of change. To remain a relevant and innovative business, we need to ensure we create a workplace that is inclusive, inspiring and supportive. A happy, motivated workforce is one that is more likely to achieve and perform well.”

Earlier this year, as we developed our plans around inclusion and wellbeing, we held focus groups across the business. It became pretty clear that, like most organisations, we’ve still got some way to go before we end the stigma around mental health. Getting behind Mental Health Awareness Week’s Green Ribbon Campaign will help to highlight the support we provide, encourage colleagues to share their own experiences, and let people that it’s OK to talk about mental health – it’s not a taboo subject. It impacts us all – our families, our friends and colleagues.

During Mental Health Awareness Week at Capita, we will share, internally, stories from our people who’ve experienced mental health issues, hold webinars for employees to learn about our employee assistance programme (EAP) and stress awareness, encourage our leaders to start conversations, and wear green ribbons to show their support. We want to make sure everyone is clear about what help’s available and how they can access it.

This is not just about one week however. One of the things that will help us to continue developing the kind of culture we want here is for us to support each other and be open about what we’ve experienced, as long as we feel comfortable doing that, of course. Just knowing that someone else has gone through what you have can show others they’re not alone and that help is available.

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