What is your fear?
I realised today when I was asked to do a blog on HB Projects journey with mental health – that my fear of social media had to be overcome! Asking me to put my personal thoughts ‘out there’, would have, two years ago, started that little voice inside my head telling me I couldn’t do it and that I was making a big mistake. That is all behind me now since the commencement of mental health awareness campaign at HB Projects. It has allowed me to rid myself of negativism that had, unknowingly, become a habit. The voice of doom and gloom is now well and truly under control and through this blog I hope to share with you the barriers that we, at HB Projects, have and continue to push through.
Fear was also evident within the business two years ago, when in a Board meeting, I put forward the Health and Wellbeing strategy, which had a real focus on mental health. As Board members we had a fear of what ‘can of worms’ we would be opening up for ourselves, or how employees would perceive us should we be so open about our ‘feelings’. In construction we ‘get on with it’ and are ‘made of proper grit’, we don’t show our ‘feminine side’ or appear ‘soft’.
At the time the business was going through significant changes, the Board talked about how we were valuing the opportunity of having conversations with each other about our thoughts and feelings in a trusted and safe environment, which would also be beneficial and appreciated by employees to have this same environment. The Board was in no doubt that a commitment to reduce the stigma associated with mental ill health had to be made.
How have we engaged with employees?
Engaging with employees has really opened up conversations within the business – some of which are very difficult to listen to. Within the business there are those that have a natural ability to listen and say the right thing, others have a fear of approaching someone to ask if they are ‘OK’ for fear of saying the wrong thing!
Watch out on Mental Health World day on Wednesday 10th October when we announce the next stage of our strategy.
To finish, should anybody have any fear of introducing conversations of mental health within the business …. ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’ (Susan Jeffers)
Beverley Peace is our Group Compliance Director, with responsibility for our Compliance, Health & Safety, Training & Development and HR functions.