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Keeping mental health front of mind

Keeping mental health front of mind
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Our CEO Poppy Jaman spoke with the CBI on prioritising good mental health and wellbeing within organisations 

Poppy Jaman, CEO of the CMHA joined the CBI for one of their bi-weekly broadcasts on 10th May. The session offers advice for prioritising good mental health and wellbeing within organisations, long-term. 

Watch the webinar: 

The broadcasts are designed to help support businesses through the next phase, giving you expert insight and intelligence to continue adapting, and providing the guidance you need to restart and boost your business, and build resilience for the new normal.


  • Matthew Fell, Chief Policy Director, CBI
  • Poppy Jaman OBE, Chief Executive, City Mental Health Alliance
  • Anna Koch, Senior Policy Adviser, CBI
  • David English, Employee Wellbeing Lead, Panasonic
  • James Harding, Co-founder and Editor, Tortoise Media (chair)

In this session:

  • Matthew Fell  provided a quick update on the B7 summit which kicks off today.

  • On Covid: we anticipate official confirmation later today from PM that roadmap is going as planned - re-opening on hospitality and cinemas, indoor play etc. We are continuing to push for more clarity around social distancing, set up of Covid Status Certificates and the future of workplace testing from June onwards.

  • Also we had an update on intl’ travel on Friday - mixed bag - good that restrictions will be lifted with12 countries on the green list. Bit of disappointment that there aren't more countries on that list. Longway from 'trading our way to recovery'.

  • On Mental Health – Matthew highlighted this was a topic that was already rising rapidly up the agenda, and when pandemic hit, employers on the front line of a mental health crisis. Key question now is how do companies 'bake in' some of the learnings from the past year. Targeting actions, leadership, and setting the right culture are all considerations for employers when it comes to Mental Health.

  • Poppy Jaman OBE   – identified that alongside new blended/hybrid workplace, there is a risk of people feeling more isolated. Even while returning to the office will be exciting in lots of ways, change is stressful, and others have suffered bereavement, trauma, job losses since the pandemic began.

  • In addition, by all data measures, the mental health of the nation has got significantly worse. Lots of companies City Mental Health Alliance work with are now including on companies risk registers and thinking about mitigating actions.

  • Every line manager needs to be trained in on checking in and checking out with staff and businesses can also think about how they can use wellbeing platforms – such as Care Connect.

  • Poppy also highlighted that there is also a business/reputational imperative for employers of not getting health and wellbeing right. Not just right thing to do but imperative for future competitiveness and business resilience.

  • Anna Koch  – early intervention and rapid response at the start of the pandemic, offering line management training on how to spot mental health and senior managers went out to employee network groups, alongside pulse surveys to respond quickly to how people were feeling.

  • In addition, communication and how senior management encouraged to talk to employees and check in on wellbeing calls e.g., 1:1 chats, no zoom calls on Fridays or during lunchbreaks to tackle ‘zoom fatigue’.

  • Normalising conversation around mental health is something which is really important to maintain going forward.

  • David English –  as employee wellbeing lead at Panasonic, David described how they had already started asking staff their preferences about returning to the office. Asking people what they feel about coming in, hot-desking and also developing video guides e.g., ‘a day in the office’ and inviting people into the office, not to work, but just to see what the office looks like now.

  • David highlighted that the tone and language used with employees needs to be really thought about, don’t want it to come across as a demand but an opportunity.     

  • Have also heard some positives from lockdown and reports of a good work/life balance - those with families in particular – this is something Panasonic don’t want to disrupt.

Register for upcoming CBI webinars here

Find out more about becoming a CMHA member here