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Kubrick’s leaders and mental health advocates reflect on the importance of acknowledging and prioritising mental health in today’s work environment.

In a year like no other, with new and acute pressures of a global pandemic and its associated challenges, the conversation around mental health has never been more prevalent. Mental Health Awareness Week, the annual event hosted by the Mental Health Foundation since 2001, is an opportunity to focus upon the importance of mental health and to learn how we can support ourselves and our communities when seeking advice or resources.

This year’s theme, Nature, is an apt reflection of the heightened awareness of mental health which the COVID-19 pandemic has instigated; whilst the benefits of accessing green spaces were already recognised and championed across scientific academic community[1] as well as leading mental health charity Mind[2], appreciation for the Great Outdoors became a source of national unity during all stages of lockdown[3].

Mental Health Awareness Week
The theme of Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 is Nature

Tony Lotta, Head of IT at Kubrick, is a registered mental health nurse and has been volunteering and leading volunteers with Samaritans for almost 8 years. He considers the link between stress in the workplace and mental health and the solution which getting outside can provide.

“Stress caused by the work environment is common, and in particular concerning job security since the 2008 Financial Crisis. COVID-19 threatened a similar effect on the markets – and our mental health. These triggers of stress around work are becoming a pandemic in themselves. If I hear anyone – friends, family, or colleagues – vocalising a feeling a stress because of work, I will first always ask if they can identify the cause. When we try and figure it out together, there is usually a point of miscommunication or lack of communication. Ultimately, they may not understand what their manager or leader wants from them or feel that they are unable to talk to them openly. One strategy I recommend for initiating conversation would be to ask to go for a walk, perhaps to get a coffee. Heading outside removes the sense of formality and pressures of the office environment to create a more relaxing backdrop to talk.”

Victoria Baark is a Consultant Relationship Manager and completed her Mental Health First Aider training in May 2020. She reflects upon the impact of coronavirus on mental health and the importance of responding as an organisation.

“During the pandemic, we saw a dramatic increase in consultants reporting difficulties with a variety of aspects of mental health and wellbeing, which largely stemmed from the constant isolation. Although we already had some resources in place, we needed to widen our lens on understanding the mental health of our staff and consultants and our responsibility to help them. Kubrick has always fostered a friendly atmosphere which makes it easy to talk about personal or professional issues, but I felt it was important that we had members of the company who were actually trained to have these conversations.”

Kubrick is an equal opportunities employer, which includes recognising and supporting the mental health of our staff and consultants.

Tim Smeaton, Founder and Managing Partner:

“Kubrick’s purpose is to unleash the potential in individuals through the power of the technologies which are shaping industries today. It is these individuals, the brilliant young minds we hire, who are now ushering in a fresh approach to recognising the significance of mental health on both a personal and professional level. The picture of the workplace has changed dramatically in the last year – and for good. Remote working practices, to a variety of degrees, are here to stay, and we must do all we can to help our consultants and clients not simply navigate but excel in this new world as we build a generation of future leaders. We are proud to have a clear support system available to consultants, from our Consultant Relationship Managers to our accredited mental health advocates, and we encourage all members of the Kubrick community to engage with these critical conversations beyond the parameters of Mental Health Awareness Week.