In Conversation with Di Keller

Di Keller is Head of Workplace Wellbeing at Be. Wellbeing. Di specialises in diversity, inclusion and wellbeing programmes.

Mental health in the workplace has become a big issue in recent years. Do you think organisations and employers are taking notice, or employees are more open with their experiences?
I think that workplaces are starting to take more notice, but some are unsure where to start, how to make it work and what is the best solution. Budget can quite often be an issue – but a really good programme can be implemented for minimum investment per person with the return on investment for this being much higher. It is hard for people to speak openly about mental health conditions and in the workplace more-so as they feel they will be overlooked from promotions and even the job in the first place. The culture of an organisation plays a big part in this and even with a strong commitment from the organisation, this can take time to change.

From your experience, what has the biggest impact on mental health in the workplace? How can companies and organisations do to prevent this?
Workload and communications are the 2 biggest subjects that I talk to most clients about. We live and work in such a fast paced and busy environment in today’s world but very rarely have systems, processes and development kept up to speed with this, this is then a big impact for the employees. Changes that impact wider spheres are often made in silos with limited consideration to the holistic picture. Organisations strive to achieve a profitable bottom line but if we peel back the layers – the cost of absenteeism and productivity linked to mental health conditions are a huge cost to a business, negatively impacting their bottom line. It’s not something that can be ignored.

What is your advice for keeping a healthy mind at work?
It is about finding out what works for you. Whether you’re working in a supportive environment or not – it’s learning to recognise your own triggers and have a few solutions in your toolbox ready to implement. This all comes with time and practice and quick wins are like a screwdriver without a handle. We must all work to prevention as well as reaction to mental health and implement some good brain training strategies that work for you. Building resilience around your mental health is important for your whole wellbeing.

Can you tell us a bit about what Be. Wellbeing do and how you got involved?
Be. Wellbeing is a subsidiary of Tyneside and Northumberland Mind. There are over 130 local minds which have the experience of over 70 years from Mind, the leading mental health charity in England and Wales. Be. Wellbeing offers our clients an end to end workplace wellbeing solution – tailored to their existing workplace benefits and support. The solution includes specialist training and consultancy for all levels of the business including accredited training for managers and for mental health first aid. What makes us different is that link to the charity, so not only does that give us the option of charity partnerships and CSR for organisations, we provide high quality counselling solutions too. But the best part is that all of the profits from both organisations are invested in mental health services and support in our local communities!

Di will be at Northern Power Futures, on the panel for Keeping a Healthy Mind at Work. Find out more about Di’s panel here. Find out more information and register for tickets here

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