The positive effects of diversity and inclusion are becoming ever more apparent at business level. Tali Shlomo looks at the CII’s work in this area…
Welcome to the first in a series of articles in The Journal, where we intend to highlight various issues around inclusion within the workplace, aiming to increase knowledge and awareness when working and engaging with people from diverse communities.
The business case for diversity and inclusion is clear to us all. Business leaders are putting more focus on diversity and inclusion now that tangible benefits are more quantifiable. In a recent study by PwC, 79% of international business leaders agreed that enhanced customer satisfaction was a core outcome from a diverse and inclusive workforce, with 85% believing it enhanced business performance, and yet we have a way to go in our profession in utilising the diverse thinking and creativity that is out there.
As the professional standards body for insurance, it is our role to work with our members to develop the profession, to meet the needs of today’s consumers and businesses and those of the future. There are many ways we can all make a difference as we continue to embrace diversity and value inclusion, and in the coming months we will touch subjects such as disability, gender, and our first topic, mental health.
Mental health is the mental and emotional state in which we feel able to cope with the normal stresses of everyday life. Mental ill-health can range from feeling a bit down, to common disorders such as anxiety, depression and, in limited cases, to severe mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.
In 2014, it was estimated that one adult in six (17%) had a ‘common mental disorder’ such as depression and generalised anxiety. At the same time, it was also estimated that it was women aged 16–24 who were the most likely to report they were experiencing symptoms of a common mental disorder.
AT THE CII
The recent Mental Health Awareness Week was a great opportunity to raise awareness and the CII provided a range of activities for staff. These included a mindfulness taster session; managing mental health at work, hosted by Gareth Turner from the mental health charity Mind; and sleep talk, a session on the importance of quality sleep and how to achieve a good night’s rest.
To help our employees to get support for themselves or for friends, colleagues or family who may need help with mental health issues, we provided a short list of some organisations who are specialists in this field, as well as resources available to you through the CII’s EAP programme Lifeworks.
Sometimes the help of friends, family and colleagues may be enough. And your GP is always a good starting point when you feel you might need some professional support. If you need some professional advice it is better to seek help earlier rather than waiting and letting situations become out of hand or overwhelming.
Tali Shlomo people engagement director at the CII
Mind – support and advice free of charge. Visit their website for helpful information and further details of how to access their help. www.mind.org.uk
PANDAS Foundation – support every individual with pre (antenatal), postnatal depression or postnatal psychosis in England, Wales and Scotland 0843 28 98 401 (every day from 9am-8pm)
The Samaritans – available to listen and to help, 24 hours a day. Freephone 116 123
WHAT CAN WE DO
Take the time to understand how mental health problems affect – and are affected by – work, and how we can best support people with mental ill health.
Connecting with those around us at work can really help improve our well-being. Instead of just emailing, we can talk to people face-to-face, speak to someone new in the building or put five minutes aside to find out how someone really is.
Regular physical activity is also associated with lower rates of depression, so go for a walk at lunchtime, organise a work sporting activity or even just taking the stairs instead of the lift – all simple small things that can help promote well-being each day.
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