The Civil Service celebrates Mental Health Awareness Month
Mental Health Awareness Week was held this year between 13th-17th May, with the theme surrounding body image.
Body image – how we think and feel about our bodies – is just one mental health issue that can have a profound impact on how we see ourselves and how we act in the world. This includes the world of work, which is why it is so important that employers recognise issues around mental health.
I’m a graduate as part of the Civil Service Fast Stream, and I’m proud of the importance the Civil Service places on mental health and wellbeing. To celebrate Mental Health Awareness Week, we launched the “This is me” video series, which featured senior leaders in the Civil Service telling the stories of their own experiences with mental ill health. This sends a powerful message both that mental health issues can affect anyone, and also that it doesn’t have to be a bar to professional success. Number 10 Downing Street and 70 Whitehall (the Cabinet Office building) were also lit up in green on the outside, to give a visual demonstration of how important these issues are to the Civil Service.
But what’s important to me is that the Civil Service are supportive of mental health awareness not just for a week, but all year round. And although we still have a long way to go, we have become a lot better at recognising neurodiversity and giving people the tools they need to manage their mental health at work. We are encouraged to use flexible working patterns so that we can work in ways that best suit us or use time to attend doctor’s appointments or counselling if that’s helpful. Increasingly, departments also have ‘Mental Health First Aiders’ – people who are trained to recognise early symptoms and provide initial help to colleagues experiencing issues.
Recognising neurodiversity is an essential part of creating a diverse and inclusive culture at work, taking action on mental health is a key part of the Civil Service’s ambition to be the UK’s most inclusive employer by 2020.
If you’re interested in joining the Civil Service, you can currently register to be informed about the opening date for Fast Stream applications. Find out more on the Fast Stream website.