Derbyshire companies pledge to make a change as UK marks an end to Mental Health Awareness Month

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Productivity pressure, instability and the lack of psychological safety in the workplace are the most common factors causing anxiety and stress in the workplace, as mental health awareness month comes to an end in the UK.

A recent study by global organisation Headspace revealed that nearly half or workers feel a sense of dread and anxiety during the working week. It also revealed that whilst 94% of HR leaders feel an increasing responsibility to improve company culture by supporting employees, they themselves use mental health benefits less than any other group surveyed.

Derbyshire-based Sarah Markham, workplace culture expert and founder of CALM In A Box, recently hosted a week-long online event where delegates – including HR leaders - were armed with tools to help them become at least 1% CALMer in a bid to change attitudes to the workplace.

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Sessions included tips on how to get a better night’s sleep, thanks to The Sleep Charity, and help on managing your gut health and menopause mind with My Menopause Centre.

Andy Storer was one of the main sponsors of CALMFestAndy Storer was one of the main sponsors of CALMFest
Andy Storer was one of the main sponsors of CALMFest

Organisations who participated in the event – called CALMFest – included energy company edf, the University of Derby and banking giants Barclays.

The Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) – one of the headline sponsors alongside St Modwen and Nuclear AMRC – said that they became involved in CALMFest to help raise awareness amongst members.

“Mental wellbeing is incredibly important to us and our members,” said Tom Greatrex , CEO of the NIA.

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“As a sector, we strive to promote an inclusive working culture by promoting a positive and healthy stat of being. We’re proud to have supported CALMFest, raising awareness of mental health and raising funds for a very worthy cause.”

Andrew Storer, who is the Chief Executive Officer of Nuclear AMRC, says that they got involved with CALMFest to help create more conversations within the industry, to support mental fitness and harness energy.

He said: “The workplace is changing and it’s now even more important to support people to better navigate the challenges and opportunities of the post-covid world. We need to retain a healthy workforce and attract people to the sector, so it’s important to ensure the best environment we can for the welfare of our staff.

“We understand this, and that’s why we were proud to be involved with CALMFest. Spiritual and emotional health, plus mental health, is just as important as physical health.”

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Financial education specialist Matt Cullen will deliver a session on managing your money, Jamie Quince Starkey - founder of the Down to Earth project – spoke about the power of reconnecting people with nature and event organiser Sarah Markham shared stories, data and a toolkit with delegates on how to develop techniques to create a balanced workplace culture.

Sarah, whose own issues with stress and anxiety inspired her to help others, said: “To do well, you need to be well; energy is our most precious resource, and we need to be more effective rather than more efficient.

Anxiety is one of the most common mental health problems we can face and focusing on anxiety for this year’s campaign will increase people’s awareness and understanding of an emotion that is perfectly normal, but can get out of control and become a mental health problem.

“Six in 10 adults feel anxious, at least some of the time, but it can be made easier to manage with the right tools. Making sure that improving mental health is a key priority for the government and society as a whole.

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“CALMFest really did have something for everyone including tools on managing anxiety with a great mix of innovative, forward-thinking companies taking part. We learned how to develop trusted relationships with others and how to build a sense of community in the workplace for a better work/life balance.

“The event was also a fundraiser for Mind, with delegates given the option to make a voluntary donation to the charity when they attended a session."

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