The fourth in a series of CMHA member case studies to be published since March this year, we learn from David Sproul, senior partner and chief executive of Deloitte UK, about the great progress that the firm has made on tackling mental health challenges in the workplace.
“Despite great strides being made across the City to promote mental health awareness, we still read about tragic stories of people suffering in silence. As chief executive of Deloitte, with responsibility for close to 15,000 people, this makes mental health a cause I am passionate about. In 2013, I signed the ‘Time to Change’ pledge as I was determined to improve both the understanding of mental health and remove the stigma attached to it in the workplace. At Deloitte, we have always striven to instil a culture that ensures everyone can thrive, develop and succeed. Our people are our most valuable asset and we want them to be fit and happy at work, but also to have the confidence and security to speak up about mental health concerns.
“One of Deloitte’s most important and successful mental health initiatives was created by John Binns, a former partner of the firm and member of the CMHA management committee. John suffered a significant period of depression in 2007 and he received a great deal of support from his colleagues. John wished he had spoken out earlier and it prompted him to bring together a group of interested partners to establish Deloitte’s Mental Health Champions. These champions provide a confidential one-to-one advisory service for those suffering from mental health problems. His initiative was groundbreaking, achieving national and international recognition. I am delighted that the number of Deloitte Mental Health Champions has increased to 20 this year. The progress we have made on this issue was illustrated when Deloitte’s people voted to make Mind one of our three national charity partners in 2014.
“Although Deloitte has made leaps and bounds to support our people with their mental health challenges, I am well aware that more still needs to be done. There remains a fear about being open about mental health at work, because some incorrectly perceive mental health struggles as a ‘weakness’. Changing these attitudes is key if we don’t want people to suffer in silence. We need to banish the misunderstanding and prejudice about those who endure anxiety and depression. One way to achieve this is by educating managers and providing people with easy access to mental health information. We have learned that having open and honest conversations about mental health ultimately leads to a more resilient and productive workforce. This should be a priority for every CEO.”