We’re all used to working remotely these days and have seen some benefits. No commute, extra time in bed, and more time to focus on physical health. But lockdown, isolation, and lack of physical and social stimulus are having an impact on our mental health. We’re used to water-cooler chatter, walking to the tube with a colleague, spending time together at lunchtime – all those interactions that video calls just can’t replicate.
Mental health is critical to recovery from COVID-19. Businesses should see mental health as business-critical for employee well-being, business productivity, and the bottom line. Mental health-related absence is the most common cause of long-term sickness in UK workplaces. Even pre-pandemic, work-related stress, depression or anxiety accounted for 44% of work-related ill health and 54% of working days lost. Mental ill-health is costing employers between £33 billion and £42 billion every year.
Only half (41%) of employees would feel confident speaking about mental health in the workplace. But for every £1 spent by employers on mental health interventions, they get £5 back in reduced absence, presenteeism and staff turnover.
The Lord Mayor’s Appeal is encouraging employees to digitally share green ribbons to show their support for ending the stigma around mental health in the workplace. Through This is Me and the Green Ribbon Campaign, The Lord Mayor’s Appeal wants to enable organisations to support their people with their well-being, coming together as a community this Mental Health Awareness Week on 10th–16th May 2021.
The Green Ribbon Campaign has been running for five years and has sold over 170,000 green ribbons to companies based from Aberdeen to Cornwall. In 2018 high profile buildings from the Houses of Parliament to Mansion House, Guildhall to Emirates Stadium was lit up green to show solidarity.
The physical community that the Green Ribbon Campaign usually builds won’t be possible at this moment in time, but it is still important that mental health is visible, so The Lord Mayor’s Appeal is calling on businesses and organisations to create a virtual movement of support.
The Green Ribbons:
- Create a visible movement of support for ending the stigma.
- Show those struggling that there is support and that they are not alone.
- Demonstrate the level of support for well-being within your workplace.
- Encourage people to share their story to create inclusive workplace cultures.
The charity has created materials and assets that can help employees and colleagues spread the Green Ribbon message online. They are offering a range of digital assets this year to help raise awareness around mental health. These include origami green ribbons, mindful colouring sheets, social media cover photos, posts, email signatures, and digital signage.
As well as wearing a green ribbon on their profile picture, employees are encouraged able to give one, digitally, to a colleague or employee to share kindness and connect during these difficult times. The idea is that by sharing a green ribbon anyone can show support and solidarity for positive well-being, no matter where they are.
Employees are also encouraged to share their green ribbon profile picture with the hashtag #endthestigma. The hope is that the campaign will spread far and wide, and that going digital will increase its inclusivity, enabling colleagues from all over the world to participate. In 2020 over people and organisations from over 73 locations took part.
The theme for 2021’s Mental Health Awareness Week is nature and as spring is here and the weather is improving it’s a great time to get out and about and appreciate our outdoors. The Appeal would love to see people share photos of their green ribbon in green spaces.
The reason the Green Ribbon Campaign is so successful is that it’s an opportunity to come together, even at times like this when we are apart. This Mental Health Awareness Week, let’s go green to show our support.