Wellbeing is a nice buzzword. But when employers use it, ask why

Brendan McLoughlin - Efficacy Therapist, Mental Nurse & Accredited Cognitive Behavioural Therapist

I recently came across this article in The Guardian which urged me to write the following comment.

The Guardian Article - click here and then come back and read my comments.

This article has a good point to make. If I worked for an organisation where there was a wellbeing service, and I got a free flat white when I arrived I might think they cared about me, but it doesn’t mean that they would, in fact, help my mental health. Tokenism is always a problem and “ticking boxes” to please others is too easy.  But this is not the case for all businesses and organisations.

Yes, the “bottom line” for a business is crucial.  Whenever I have been to speak with businesses about mental health that is where I start – because often they are wary of mental health and mental illness. Like many people in our society they are not sure they understand it, so approaching from an angle they are comfortable with is useful.  Also, usually they want to do good and look after their staff as well as reduce costs. Many NHS services for people with anxiety and depression use the term wellbeing and avoid “mental” precisely because it puts people off seeking help. Wellbeing is a term which people do not fear, and if therefore, if it does not put people off or even encourages them to seek help that is a good thing.

Where organisations do have actual plans and systems to help those with mental health conditions, they may work with insurance companies or directly with outside providers (such as Efficacy) to provide easily accessible specialist therapy services which are used by their staff and which help them to improve their health and quality of life – as well their productivity. I am not concerned if this is referred to as improving their “wellbeing” if it happens. Improving health improves productivity. I’m sure healthier and happier students achieve better grades and contribute to the university in a range of ways. To me, that is a good result for the employee and employer, the student and university.