Meee in a Mad World
One of the highlights of last year for me and Meee was attending and exhibiting at the Mad World Summit in London in 2019. It was amazing to see so many people, often really senior people from multi-national companies coming together to talk about and discuss mental health in the workplace.
Paul Farmer, CEO of mental health charity Mind opened his speech by reminding the audience, “If we had tried to organise an event like this 10 years ago, nobody would have turned up.” And of course, he was right. He might even have been right 5 years ago, but things are definitely changing.
Two things really struck me about the event, where over 1150 attendees from 18 countries came to discuss mental health. First, business is clearly getting the message about Mental Health and are much more engaged with finding genuine ways to help their workforces. On one hand this is hardly surprising, better Mental Health support in the workplace can save UK businesses up to £8 billion a year. There is a clear, financial and strategic advantage for turning ‘stigma into solutions’ and repurposing ‘problems into potential’. But, on the other hand it is still a relatively unknown and untested area. The definition of Mental Health is extremely broad and some interventions work for some and not for others. There are countless initiatives that are supposed to help but show minimal impact, so even if a company wants to do something positive and constructive it can be hard for them to know what to do.
As Amy McDonald, founder and CEO of Headtorch said, “It’s not rocket science, it’s about being human and actually caring and making that work on a big scale if you are in a large organisation or on a small scale if you are in a small organisation”. Of course, Amy is spot on but finding what works and what can scale is really not that easy.
Part of Meee’s focus this coming year is helping business achieve this scale. We have put together targeted business initiatives, Meee Lite, Meee Midi and Meee Maxi. These not only improve workplace Mental Health but engagement and productivity. Happy employees are more productive, more engaged and get through more work while maintaining a healthy working environment. It really is a win/win/win. A win for the employee, a win for the business and a win for communities.
I met a number of senior HR managers from banking, retail and commerce who are already looking at ways to incorporate the Meee philosophy into their well-being programmes. Simon Berger, the co-founder of the Mad World Summit told me he loved my first book, Meee in a Minute so much so it stays on his bedside table! He said it’s “Succinct, insightful and precious tips for all those who seek a helping-hand to improve in life and work J”. Professor Dame Black, one of the key note speakers is also a fan of what we do and there were various charities asking us to run programmes for family groups.
The second point that really struck me is how we are now beginning to talk about Mental Health in a way that is much closer to the way we talk about physical health. This positive evolution not only helps to remove the stigma, but also encourages us to view mental health in much the same way we view physical health. And, perhaps more importantly, recognise that neither happens by accident!
Physical health requires some form of training. We all know that. We might not want to be an Olympic athlete but if we want to be fit and healthy, we know that we need to be more physically active and cut down on the fizzy drinks and sugary foods. Similarly, the best way to achieve Mental Health is training. We need to get to know our mind (self-awareness), so we can develop out own tool kit of strategies and techniques that will help us when we need then. This personal tool kit helps us shift our thinking and nudge us into a more positive frame of mind. That’s why I wrote the Meee in a Minute books. They are little pocket guides that give us life hacks, advice, insights, science, stories, short exercises or thought experiments and quotes that can help improve our life, work and family in just a minute!
I loved the Mad World Summit and we’ll be there again in November 2020. If I had one concern it would be that there was no focus on the little guy/girl; the small business (SME's) as opposed to the big multi-nationals (PLC’s); the unemployed as well as the employed; and those excluded from school or struggling to find their place in the world. They are entitled to good Mental Health. Good Mental Health is not just for the privileged it’s for everyone. Again, that is why I wrote the books to make sure that anyone, regardless of budget, background or education could train their mind toward better Mental Health.
Meee is looking for companies who are interested in improved their workforces Mental Health but also help those who are less fortunate. If this resonates with you please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org www.meee.global