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How we're creating an environment that supports better mental wellbeing

12 May

Montreal Careers - How we're creating an environment that supports better mental wellbeing

Written by Matt Ashby-Cooper, Head of People & Culture at MA

My boss is pretty epic. He’ll hate me saying it here, but he’s supportive, encouraging, responsive, gets what I want to achieve professionally and personally, and helps me achieve it, comes to me with ideas and still to this day is yet to say ‘no’ - instead always asking ‘how do we make it work?’.  

In short - we’re totally in sync.   

And yet the last couple of months, I’ve been second-guessing it. Questioning the meaning behind an email, feeling out of the loop, asking myself if I’m being left out of the conversation. And it’s not just with him. It’s happening with other professional relationships as well as with a few personal ones. 

If I stop and take myself out of the immediate moment, I know what’s happening: Continued isolation is taking its toll on my Mental Wellbeing and I’m relying too heavily on email and ‘chat’ to replace face to face conversations. 

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week this week. Here at MA, we ran a quick-fire survey of 5 questions to take the mental wellbeing temperature of our people. We had a 66% response rate, so I think it’s something our people were ready to talk about. 

We found that: 

  • Average mental wellbeing over the last year scored 6/10 

  • 64% said they’d had issues with mental wellbeing in the last 12 months 

  • 22% said they’d seen a medical professional about their mental wellbeing 

  • 93% said they’d taken action themselves, such as yoga, meditation, increased exercise etc. 

  • 27% said they felt their mental wellbeing issues were part of a wider mental health condition. 

The results speak for themselves: Our Mental Wellbeing is suffering. Over 90% of people have taken action to either prevent or recover from mental well-being issues. And almost a third of our respondents now see themselves as having a Mental Health Condition. To my shame, it took this survey for me to realise the scope of the problem. 

So, what are we committing to, to create an environment that supports better mental wellbeing?  

Starting this month, we’re rolling out training to our people and perhaps more importantly, to our people managers that will focus on how to recognise their own inner wellbeing and how to improve it. Our leaders will also examine how to recognise it in others and support better mental wellbeing in their team members.  

We’ve recently partnered with HEKA, a wellbeing platform that allows access to discounted programmes, services and products, as well as a library of curated content all related to aspects of wellbeing.  

We’ve committed to training three Mental Health First Aiders in our business by the end of the summer. 

And as a small gesture, we’ve taken this year’s Mental Health theme of Nature and given everyone at MA the afternoon off on Thursday to get out into a park, by a river, or for our lucky people in Barcelona, onto a beach, to reconnect and recharge a little.  

And personally, I’m committing to less email and more face to face, yes, to even more zoom meetings and eventually including getting back into the office as soon as I’m able.  

It’s just the start, but we hope by increasing awareness and conversation about mental wellbeing at MA, we can begin to find ways to better support our people on their journey to positive mental health. 


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