Although the conversations around mental health have begun to reduce stigma and promote understanding, the structures aren’t always in place to support people looking for help and this is often most obvious in the workplace. This is not to say that companies have been ignoring the issue; employee health and wellness are firmly on the agenda for many organisations across the world. However, research shows that employees are still reluctant to speak candidly about mental health problems, fearing that being open about a problem could have a negative impact on their career prospects or relationships with colleagues.
Nearly five years ago we introduced a comprehensive health and wellbeing programme for our teams at Allianz Worldwide Care to promote the overall health and wellbeing of our employees. This included access to regular health assessments, on-site yoga and massage, blood checks for diabetes, cancer awareness seminars, organic fruit deliveries, organised activities such as rugby together with stress and mindfulness training.
By framing our programme so that stress-reducing activities go hand-in-hand with medical checks, physical activity and healthy eating initiatives, we are able to show how all aspects of health and wellness have equal importance and are a normal part of our daily lives. By including mental health in our overall employee welbeing strategy, we are helping to engender an environment of openness and understanding. We are confident that this is helping to deal with any hesitancy by employees in speaking frankly about their health issues, including mental health.