'This is my story, Scotland'

“I am such a fan of mental health”
Business Leaders Share Their Stories

At the very first event of its kind in Scotland, delivered in joint collaboration between Headtorch and Minds@Work, Business Leaders shared their experiences of mental health.  For “This is my story, Scotland” senior leaders told personal stories about their own mental health, stories that were enlightening, emotional and most importantly, gave hope.

Each speaker who shared a difficult personal story emphasised how their experiences have made them stronger, more aware of other people’s mental health and ultimately better leaders.  “Break through rather than break down,” was the alternative view offered by Geoff McDonald of Minds@Work.

McDonald spoke about the 1:10 return on investment - the incredible rate of return that Unilever achieved from their mental health programmes.  He argued that the case for good mental health in the workplace is not only ethical but there are hard economic benefits.  

With speakers from Scotrail, Coutts & Co, Clifford Chance, RBS, SD Worx, and the Minister for Mental Health in The Scottish Government, there was a diverse range of experience and knowledge.  Straight forward and practical advice was the theme of the night, highlighting that promoting and looking after mental health is not rocket science.  There’s a need to gain a better understanding of the underlying causes of poor mental health at work and to tackle these root causes head on.

“I am such a fan of mental health,” was the bold statement by Nick Prudhoe, of SD Worx.  Nick’s comment demonstrates how much attitudes to mental health are changing.  It was pointed out on numerous occasions that just as we all have physical health, we all have mental health and it’s vital that we take care for it.  A holistic approach to creating a mentally healthy workplace is what’s needed, one in which people are enabled to take joint responsibility.    

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Angela Strachan wowed the room with her brilliant performance poetry, combining humour and pathos on subjects including stress, she brought a bold change of energy to the event which varied throughout with individual speakers, interviews and discussion. 

Miles Kean of Coutts shared the fact that 94% of what you worry about doesn’t happen and, as worrying is a form of procrastination, then you’re better just getting on with it!  Kean also stated that if you have a problem, then you’re best to make changes before things get out of control.

Helen Honeyman of RBS in her interview with Anna Magnusson, stressed the importance of not waiting until you get into crisis, take action and have the confidence to say you need help.

Maureen Watt MSP, the first Minister for Mental Health reaffirmed the Scottish Government’s commitment to mental health and restated their goal of preventing and treating mental health with equal passion to physical health.

Amy McDonald, CEO of Headtorch called for action, “don’t just sit there talking, make sure you take action, take responsibility, it is this that will make the difference.”    

The event was run in collaboration between Headtorch and Minds@Work, with grateful sponsorship from RBS and Scotrail.