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Engage and educate leaders in mental health support [Part 3 of 3]

How can you start better supporting employees through mental health struggles? Getting the right processes and tools in place can make a big difference in individual employee's experience.

Bell Director, Learning and Engagement Angie Harrop discusses some of the challenges Bell had to overcome and what other organizations can learn from their experiences. From specific resources for employers, to best practice for starting your own program, find out how you can best support your employees' mental health at work.

For more information on the Bell Let's Talk mental health initiative, visit letstalk.bell.ca.

Video transcript below:

Caitlin Nobes, HRM Online
Caitlin Nobes:
 From addressing urgent needs to improving long term support, Bell’s mental health initiative made a huge difference in their employees’ lives.  Director of Learning & Engagement, Angie Harrop discusses the biggest challenges and what HR can do to bring change to their organisation.
This series is brought to you by Global Knowledge, Canada’s largest corporate learning and development partner.

Caitlin Nobes:  What were some of the challenges Bell faced and how did you overcome them?

Angie Harrop:  Back in 2010 when we first started our journey there was no road map, there was no playbook for us, we had to feel our way forward as we were learning about mental health ourself.  As well what we learned is that mental health in the workplace is not an either or with running a successful business.  In order to have a successful business you need engaged healthy employees. 

Caitlin Nobes:  So what are some of the first steps HR can take in supporting employee health in their organisation.

Angie Harrop:  I get asked this question a lot from HR colleagues and what I always say is you are probably doing more than you realise.  So taking stock of your current programs, policies, processes is a good place to start and then talking to employees, understanding what their level of awareness is, what their experiences are as well, talking to senior leaders is especially important to ensure that the sponsorship is there.  This is not just an HR initiative, it has to be a business imperative.

Caitlin Nobes:  What about if HR doesn’t have that leadership support already, how can they win over their executives to this kind of initiative?

Angie Harrop:  I would suggest taking a look at the cost of mental illness to the business, looking at your disability stats and the number of relapse cases and recurrence cases that you have, forms a very powerful business case that any senior leader would listen to.

Caitlin Nobes:  What resources are available for an employer?

Angie Harrop:  Well a lot more now than they were back in 2010 for sure.  Bell recently contributed to the first ever voluntary workplace standards for psychological health and safety.  It’s a practical guide with a wealth of tools for any organisation to help you get started.  As well I would encourage you to visit the letstalk.bell.ca where we are sharing our lessons learned and our resources, you can download anything from posters and tip sheets to informational guides as well to bring that into your workplace.

Caitlin Nobes:  For more information and resources about implementing change in your organisation, check the links below.