“1 in 4 of us experience a mental health problem. I am one of those statistics.”
Research suggests that around 1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health problem in any given year*. Statistically speaking, in a team of 15 that’s 3/4 of our colleagues who might be struggling. In an organisation with approximately 569 UK Managing Directors, around 142 could be battling mental illness.
I am one of those statistics and, as a recent graduate moving to the other side of the country on my own, settling into living in London and navigating a vast, fast-paced and constantly evolving organisation as part of a global graduate programme has been extremely challenging.
However, the support that I have received from those around me since I started has been incredible, and I feel completely at home here.
At Accenture, we champion openness around mental health and actively seek to break down the stigma surrounding the topic, understanding that encouraging people to be themselves and leveraging the unique strengths of individuals is what makes for exceptional and high-performing teams.
Since our Mental Health Allies programme kicked-off in 2014, Accenture has trained over 900 employees to be ambassadors, advocates and trusted contact points for people seeking support or information, for themselves or a colleague around mental health. Our flexible working culture also supports employees to achieve a good work-life balance.
I never thought that I would ever get to a point where I felt comfortable to talk openly and honestly about my mental health challenges and how I really feel on a day-to-day basis, but Accenture has encouraged this and I feel fully able to bring my whole self to work.
We all have mental health, just as we have our physical health. If you are struggling at the moment in whatever sense, please do reach out to someone – there is absolutely no shame in doing so, and it can be the first step to getting the support you need. And if you know someone is struggling, or sense that a friend or colleague doesn’t seem to have quite been themselves recently, why not make them a cup of tea, or ask them if they would like to go for a walk? Sometimes the smallest things can make the biggest difference.
Heidi Thurman, HR Graduate
For information on a range of mental health conditions and advice and support for those experiencing a mental health condition themselves or supporting someone else, click here.
*Mental Health Foundation (2007). The Fundamental Facts. London: Mental Health Foundation.