This is the start, the very beginning of change and where the positivity starts to be created. Here there is lots of energy and positivity, a lot of ideas and lateral thinking. But how do you navigate the excitement to ensure the right plan is created, a plan and culture that will change the people involved for the better. That will provide them with knowledge, support and power over their own mental health and well being and help them create positive, lifelong habits?
What is the intention, what is the why? This is important to pinpoint and for that a good understanding of what hasn’t been happening also needs to be looked at, as much as we need to know what we want to change to define this we need to look at what hasn’t been working.
So often I speak to organisations that want to put in support, mental health first aiders, a counsellor an EAP program or occupational health and these are all great, they are defiantly a good start but if we look at companies that have used these services for a long time it is clear to see that although they have an important function they are not addressing the whole mental health challenge. To be clear I am not saying that you should not provide any of these services, there is also a lot of evidence to say you should. They have their place in supporting people and helping to address the challenge, but they are not quite enough.
Why is this? Well, they all only address the triage part of a plan, they leave out any prevention and touch points to halt progressions of challenges. Instead, they are designed to help people that are already suffering a great deal, so yes, they are absolutely needed but they are not the whole solution.
So, the intention is to support the organisations people as a whole and to create an environment that avoids the people getting to the point of triage, but the challenge is that most common offerings only target a few people and only those who are at breaking point.
Culture comes from a vison and mission; it needs to be a whole company approach coming from the top. If the leaders in the business are not showing a keen and supportive edge in the process then there is little chance anyone else will, other than those already interested, and chances are they have at least a few processes in place to manage their well-being already.
Just imagine you are trying to help a friend by recommending an approach or service that will help them, but it is one that you know nothing about and are openly not engaged in, would they take your advice?
Don’t let this be too daunting, it doesn’t mean that the CEO must lay bare his life story with all the ups and downs, trials, and tribulations. It simply means showing support, positivity and some authenticity or vulnerability around the subject. This can be done in many ways but firstly an engagement in the process and guidance to how best frame this support will be needed. An understanding of what the processes are and how they can be supported in a way that will improve engagement.
DO NOT RUSH THIS! There is a lot of movement, passion and buzz around mental health and well-being now, but this is something that needs to be planned and executed well and sincerely with passion and integrity. Breath, take a moment and go back to your intention and ‘why’, every idea that is put forward must have a clear process, steps and evidence that it is going to achieve what you want it to achieve.
I so often see organisations putting in various well-being and mental health procedures that have no outcome, that don’t expand, grow and onboard the people well. Take small, carefully planned and strategic steps not a throw everything at it and see what sticks approach. After all we all know how tricky it can be to create new, positive habits. There is lots of things we all know we should be doing but we don’t, so just by offering everything it doesn’t mean people are going to use it. The plan should carefully highlight the slow build and strategy to help people create habits, this needs some thinking!
If you need any help or assistance with these steps get in touch – email@example.com