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A journalist with 13 years of experience on trade publications covering construction, local government, property, pubs, and transport.
October 20, 2017

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Firms combine forces for new approach to mental health management

Two CEOs have collaborated to offer a package for management of mental health at work, which aims to drive forward the wellbeing agenda for businesses in an innovative way.

A Deeper Understanding, a mental health consultancy led by CEO Dave Lee, and CallConfidential, a confidential reporting service led by CEO Paul Russell, came to a mutual agreement to undertake a collaboration that aims to address those affected by bullying and depression within the workplace, and assist companies in dealing with the issue.

Together the CEO’s aim to bring valuable insights that are rarely seen working collaboratively to a business, they claim.

Lee said: “We encourage and support use of individuals’ innate wisdom and resilience, we do not label or try to fix.

“The collaboration will offer an alternative to the existing old psychological model, that is clearly not working, or there wouldn’t be this epidemic of mental ill health issues.

Simple solution

The collaboration will ‘offer a simple solution, to every sector’.

Lee said: “Using our systems and training as a first step in your processes can often, in our experience, have the desired effects, thus reducing the need for time off and expensive traditional interventions.

“And as shown in recent news stories, retaining and attracting new talent are just two of the benefits you can expect to see as a result of successful well-being management; the business case for enhancing your well-being management system becomes clear.”

Russell said: “The opportunity for learning experiences and sharing good practices is vital and part of what is essentially behind this strategic collaboration.

“It osculates ethically-aligned organisations with codes of conduct and professional integrity at their cores; both incorporating the EFQM business model to meet the expectations of all their stakeholders.”

Fabric of life

The CEOs claim that aspiring to a work culture with an understanding that depression and other mental ill health conditions, such as anxiety and stress, are ‘part of the fabric of life’ and do not mean failure or weakness, is something ‘all business leaders can do’.

They hope that enlisting their services collaboratively will enhance existing wellbeing management systems for firms, make their procedures more robust, and potential avoid litigation as a result.

Leadership philosophy

Both CEOs firmly believe that senior leaders talking about the importance of mental health to their businesses – and also their own experiences – can bring to life the issue for employees.

Russell comes from a dedicated safety and assurance background with nearly three decades of experience leading high-performance teams in the transport industry.

His expertise lies in driving positive change across safety and quality control, underpinned by a passionate commitment to continued professional development.

Russell’s philosophy is to challenge the status quo, bringing enthusiasm and commitment to perfect efficiency, he states.

He said of working with Dave Lee: “We both understand the impact of a successful collaboration. It’s our desire to do meaningful work true to our beliefs and being prepared to go beyond what we think we know to get results.”

Real change

Lee believes that we can ‘all experience real change irrespective of our early life experiences, if we are willing to go beyond what we think we know’.

Working on building sites, Lee rose through the ranks and was responsible for running multi-million-pound jobs, before suffering mental ill health issues and addressed them through what he describes as ‘a collection of tools to deal with his personal and professional life’ that he outlined in his book, “The Hairy Arsed Builders Guide to Stress Management” and began to apply to his workforce.

He is co-founder of ADUL and he currently supports various companies, bodies and individuals on how to utilise these tools in their personal and professional lives.

Multinational HR firm, Randstad, has produced a video of Dave Lee’s mental health journey that can be seen below.

What makes us susceptible to burnout?

In this episode  of the Safety & Health Podcast, ‘Burnout, stress and being human’, Heather Beach is joined by Stacy Thomson to discuss burnout, perfectionism and how to deal with burnout as an individual, as management and as an organisation.

We provide an insight on how to tackle burnout and why mental health is such a taboo subject, particularly in the workplace.


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