Mental health in the tech: how to introduce impactful initiatives where you work

DevelopHer is on a mission. One of our aims is to empower 2,000 community members to make courageous career decisions and what is more courageous than being open about your mental health? In 2019, we have seen a great shift in attitudes towards mental health. However, it is still a challenge to discuss mental health in many workplaces and in some cases it’s still not high on the business agenda.

That was the topic of our event at the Onfido office this month. The panel with speakers from Onfido, Worldpay, Spill and Sanctus discussed how to bring up mental health where you work and introduce life-changing initiatives no matter your budget. 

The event focussed on some key takeaways and actions that you could introduce no matter where you work. If you were unable to attend the event, here are some top tips from the panel:

  1. Make the most of your network. You may not have the budget to pay a third party but tap into your connections. Do you have a colleague or friend who could teach yoga? Any free courses you could introduce? Friends who are trained coaches? Starting small gives people a flavour of the impact you can have. 
  2. Use a hook. There are often national weeks in the UK that can be used as an excuse to trigger a change. A well-known one is Mental Health week, but partnering with a mental health charity or introducing short meditation classes are small ways to kick things off
  3. Ask “how are you?” twice. We often hear the response “I’m fine” but sometimes, especially if you know someone well, it is worth taking the time to check if the person really is fine, as they may need a bit more time to open up. 
  4. Accept you may not have the answer. Managers may not always know what to say when someone opens up about mental health, and i’s best to say so. Emphasise that you may not be able to help but you are here for them and are willing to help find them the right support
  5. Setting personal boundaries that work for you. Take the time to consider your own mental health. Vic from Sanctus blocks out a night a week in her diary to relax at home and Ruth from Onfido gets to bed for 9.30pm. Whether it is journaling or travelling alone, find what works for you to recharge.

Like we said, DevelopHer is on a mission. We would like to see 2,000 members make courageous career decisions by 2025. However, what this evening highlighted is no matter what you are striving for, ensure you consider your mental health to make it the right career for you. 

Big thank you to:

  • Ruth Penfold and the Onfido team – for providing a beautiful space and the awesome insights from Ruth based on her previous experience
  • Sareeka from Spill – your personal tips were great on how you have taken the time to care for your own mental health provided great tips
  • Vic from Sanctus – your funny insights on the biggest challenges you have experienced with getting businesses onboard with introducing mental health initiatives
  • Bente from Worldpay – the useful and structured way you explained how you started the conversation around mental health in your workplace

Written by Sophie, Co-Founder of DevelopHer

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