To mark World Mental Health Day on 10th October, the Everyday Loans Group will launch Healthy Minds.
The initiative is part of a wider values-driven initiative designed to educate its 620 employees about mental health in the workplace. It aims to overcome the stigma surrounding mental health by creating a supportive and caring environment in which everyone feels able to speak freely about any difficulties they are experiencing and providing the necessary support to help overcome them.
A 25-page guide will be launched as part of the initiative, which will advise employees on how best to handle stress at work and highlights the external triggers for distress that managers should be aware of and able to spot.
It also shares practical guidance on how to approach the subject of mental health, the types of questions to ask colleagues and how to best to lend support – encouraging a GP appointment, HR outreach, making use of the company’s confidential employee helpline or directing them to other specialist charities and organisations.
The Healthy Minds initiative will be implemented and supported across Everyday Loans’ HQ, branch network and the Guarantor Loans Division (TrustTwo and George Banco) by the recruitment and training of 16 Mental Health First Aiders. These are specially identified advocates who will manage its day-to-day running and communication across the organisation. The programme is also fully supported by the executive and senior management teams.
A comprehensive education, rollout and engagement programme will be implemented, with high visibility of the initiative on the company intranet and through printed posters and literature.
The extent of the issue
A new study of almost 44,000 employees, conducted by mental health charity Mind, found that nearly half (48%) of respondents had struggled with mental health issues such as stress, low mood and anxiety while working at their current job. Only half of these people spoke to their managers about it.
Another report just out states that a quarter of UK workers may be facing a breakdown, whilst another suggests that four in 10 men who struggle with their mental health feel unable to discuss it with their manager because they fear their abilities would be questioned.
Barriers to speaking out and asking for help
It seems that mental health remains a taboo subject for many. In fact, 58% of business owners believe there is a stigma around talking about it in the workplace.
Another survey found that nearly two-thirds (61%) of those questioned agreed that it’s important for people to talk about their mental health but bringing up the topic with your manager can feel daunting -especially when you’re already struggling.
Poor mental health not only has physical and emotional implications. It can take a terrible financial toll on suffers too.
A report commissioned by the government last year found that 300,000 people with mental health issues lose their jobs every year, a staggering figure that costs the UK economy up to £99billion -with untold costs to the individuals who lose their jobs when they’re already struggling.
Passing on the benefits to borrowers
The implementation of this internal initiative by Everyday Loans, a fully FCA-accredited lender, will have many benefits for customers too.
In addition to the face-to-face, in-branch relationship lending model on which the business is based, customer account managers will also be more aware and informed of mental health issues and how to respond to them.
Healthy Minds -the Everyday Way
The mental health initiative is underpinned by a 25-page booklet that examines the various types of mental health, signs of poor mental health and key workplace and external triggers. It provides advice on how to manage stress at work
The initiative has been driven by the company’s CEO Stephen White and HR Director Mareena Flint.
Both joined the company three years ago. Since then, employee numbers have increased from 260 to over 600 within a branch network that has grown from 36 to 73 locations -supporting a customer base of more than 66,000.
“To support such rapid expansion, it was essential that we designed and implemented an employee engagement strategy to underpin our ambitious business plan,” said Mareena. “This helps to ensure that our commercial objectives can be delivered by attracting, retaining and nurturing the best talent. Heathy Minds is one way of ensuring that we achieve this.”
“Whilst being under pressure is a normal part of life – indeed, many of us thrive on it – if we become overwhelmed by it, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by day-to-day activities. We want to support all of our colleagues as best we can. By providing an environment in which they feel they can speak up, we’ll hopefully help to overcome any anxieties and worries before they become more problematic.”
As for CEO Steven White, Everyday Loans’ People are one of his three priorities in terms of commercial strategy. The other two areas of focus are Conduct and Values.
“Our Values -Honesty, Discipline, Work Rate and Humility -are at the very heart of what we do. Our conduct links our values to our behaviour, which is intrinsically linked to all 620 of the hardworking people that make up the Everyday Loans team.
“By ensuring that they have good mental health, we’re best placed to build a happy, successful and thriving business and the highest levels of service and support for our customers.”
For further information on Everyday Loans, visit https://www.everyday-loans.co.uk/ or call 0808 231 5453. Follow on Facebook and Twitter @everydayloans.