At this year’s Mad World Summit, we reinforced the message that collaboration is key if we are going to accelerate the shift from the stigma that has traditionally surrounded talking about mental health to solutions.
So, it is great to see that Seven major UK retailers have teamed up with mental health charity Samaritans to create an online wellbeing guide for workers in the sector.
This is even more significant given that Internetretailing.net is lead retail sector media partner for Mad World and retailTrust is the event’s lead retail sector charity partner.
The John Lewis Partnership, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, ASOS, the Co-op, M&S and Next have all funded the Wellbeing in Retail initiative, which aims to provide mental health support for the 2.9 million people in UK retail.
The guide aims to help staff to look after their own mental health as well as identify and colleagues who may have problems.
Accessible through desktop and mobile devices, Wellbeing in Retail offers resources such as guides for breathing techniques, the Samaritans listening wheel, a mood barometer. It also offers support films from mental health experts.
A survey of 2000 retail workers commissioned by John Lewis, M&S, the Co-op and Next found that 50% could not recognise the signs of somebody needing emotional support and 25% were not confident approaching an upset colleague.
Sir Charlie Mayfield, Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, said: “Mental health issues can affect us all - and stigmas and barriers that once prevented people talking about the issues are starting to erode.
“The world of work and retail in particular, is fast-paced and constantly changing, and we want employees to feel supported. I hope this guide is a stepping stone to creating further conversations on mental health and gives workers the confidence to use it when they may need it.”
Ruth Sutherland, Chief Executive of the Samaritans said: “It’s so encouraging to see retailers come together like this for the first time in the interest of improving their staff’s mental health.
“Over recent years, we have seen a real step change in the attitudes and behaviours of employers as they actively seek to address how they can improve wellbeing in the workplace and we are proud to be part of making this transition happen.”
Sir Cary Cooper CBE who specialises in organisational psychology and health and is supporting the guide’s launch said: “We spend a third of our lives at work, so it’s inevitable that it can impact our overall health and wellbeing. In my opinion you can never provide enough mental health support at work so I welcome the launch of this guide as it could benefit so many retail workers.”
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