I was recently asked if I wanted to train as a Mental Health First Aider. Without hesitation, my answer was yes. More than half of the UK’s employees (53%) have struggled with their mental wellbeing in some way. As a firm made up of 5,000 people, that could be more than 2,500 of my colleagues who have been or are affected with mental health issues. The sheer extent of the challenge is one of the many reasons why BDO has Wellbeing as a cultural priority.
For two years, we’ve been using MIND’s 5 Ways of Wellbeing to help our people pay more attention to their wellbeing. One of those “Ways” is ‘Be Active’ and in 2019 we fully embraced this.
In May, the firm hosted its second annual ‘Step Challenge’, which once again proved to be a huge success. More than 1,000 people took part, with people keen to increase their daily steps and often compete with their fellow ‘steppers’. An amazing total of 265 million steps were achieved over 30 days.
In September 2019, we put the ‘pedal to the metal’, with all 17 of BDO’s offices across the UK taking part in organised indoor and outdoor cycle rides and clocking up more than 10,000 miles around the country.
Other non-cycling events also took place including: a Pedalo Challenge in Regent’s Park; yoga and meditation sessions in Birmingham and Leeds; sports tournaments in Manchester; a charity cake sale in East Anglia; mindful crocheting lessons in Gatwick and Guildford; a treasure hunt in Southampton… and the list goes on!
The virtual ‘chain of events’ also included talks from Rob Stephenson the founder of InsideOut, a social enterprise whose mission is to end the stigma of mental ill-health in the workplace and promote best practice in relation to managing mental wellbeing.
After learning more about Rob’s mission, four of my fellow BDO colleagues and I rise to the challenge to take part in The MindCycle fundraising event, a competitive ‘virtual’ ride up Mount Ventoux, all in aid of various charities that support mental health.
BDO’s own mission to promote good mental health in the workplace has certainly geared up in 2019 and I’m looking forward to clocking up more miles in 2020 to keep the subject at the top of the agenda. There is a long way to go, but we’re getting closer to smashing the stigma of mental ill-health, and empowering BDO employees to talk openly about challenges they may be facing.