It’s Mental Health Awareness Week, running from the 10th-16th May, and this year’s focus is to “Connect with Nature“.
Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) is an annual event which offers an opportunity for the whole of the UK to focus on achieving good mental health. The Mental Health Foundation started the event 21 years ago and each year the Foundation continues to set the theme, organise and host the Week. The event has grown to become one of the biggest awareness weeks across the UK and globally. It is open to everyone and is all about starting conversations about mental health and the things in our daily lives that can affect it.
Here at Viva, we’ve always had a focus on the mental health and wellbeing of our team, no more so than in recent times with the effect of the pandemic and increased isolation of remote working. In line with the MHWA theme, we’ll be encouraging our team to get involved and connect with nature – there’s lots of evidence on the benefits this can bring and even small contacts with nature can help reduce stress, feelings of loneliness and be effective in improving mental health.
But, that’s not all. We have always encouraged an open, collaborative and flexible working environment and have a close-knit team with a supportive and nurturing atmosphere. To help us keep in-touch, engaged and motivated, both virtually and face-to-face, we regularly organise team lunches, games nights, pub trips and company getaways, along with personal training & development programmes. To ensure we are always evolving in our outlook and approach to the wellness and productivity of our team, we have a variety of committees focussed on various areas including Equality, Diversity & Inclusion, Culture, Recruitment, and of course, Mental Health. Some of our more recent initiatives have included:
Internal mental health survey – sent regularly to proactively gauge the thoughts and feelings of our team, which helps to identify any issues and areas where we can improve support.
Mental Health Guardian programme – various people across the company are mental health awareness champions, and as well as identifying potential problems, act as a point of communication for those who might be experiencing mental health issues. Their responsibility is not to provide solutions, but to listen, and know the appropriate channels & options for further support.
Employee Assistance Programme – all of the team have access to an award winning service of support across health & lifestyle, legal, home & work life, which offers a holistic approach to mental health and wellbeing.
Mental health awareness e-learning, covering a variety of topics including:
- Stress management
- Workplace wellbeing
- Mental hygiene
- Physical health
- Culture and stigma
Our CEO, Mark Nicholson said, “With the challenges of the past year in particular, it’s never been more important to focus on mental health. At Viva, this starts with an open and supportive environment; from personal experience, discussing mental health concerns at the right moment with the right person is the best way to nip issues in the bud. We have a responsibility to our colleagues to make our workplace as sustainable as possible, helping everyone to thrive.”
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