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What drives poor mental health?


In recent years it's been great to see Mental Health Awareness Week go from strength to strength, with increasing numbers of employers, media outlets and political figures using their influence to help get mental health on the agenda and tackle the stigma.

The challenge faced by many employers, no matter their size, is to ensure mental health awareness and supporting staff is embedded within "business as usual" activities and continues throughout the year - not just for one week out of 52.

Poor mental health, whether severe and diagnosed or otherwise, can have many and complex causes.

Alcohol problems, gambling and suicide, for example, are all closely linked with poor mental health. These are all taboo issues that concern employers in the City and beyond.

Business Healthy invites HR leads from City businesses, as well as their colleagues working in responsible business, security and diversity, equality and inclusion, to attend upcoming sessions on these issues and to discuss how the local business community can work together to reduce the risks that they pose - to individual members of staff, their employers and wider society.

Places at each session are limited - please follow the links below to find out more and reserve a space:

Supporting "hidden" workers

Last week a number of representatives of firms employing staff in manual and/ or service roles, such as cleaners, security, retail staff, waiters and kitchen staff, attended a session at City Hall on "supporting the health and wellbeing of London's 'hidden' workforce".

The session was jointly hosted by Business Healthy and the Greater London Authority and looked at the impact of socioeconomic factors influencing the health of those working in manual and/ or service roles, such as pay and working conditions, as well as the impact of lifestyle factors.

The full slide deck including presentations from all speakers can be found here.

In a similar vein, the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) last week published a report on the mental health of hospitality workers, outlining the scale of this significant problem and highlighting some clear ways in which employers can provide better support. Read the "Service with(out) a smile?" report here.

For further best practice, have a look at the list of the 30 best places to work in hospitality in 2019, published last week by trade magazine The Caterer.

Wellness Wednesday - 5 June


Dragon Cafe in the City returns next Wednesday - 5 June. Dragon Café in the City is free and open to anyone working or living in the Square Mile. It provides a free and open space for visitors to release the pressure and engage in a range of creative activities to foster mental wellbeing. A free and healthy lunch, refreshments and snacks are available to visitors.

Next week's programme includes free massage, a workshop on the power of storytelling, chess strategy, meditation techniques, yoga, a virtual reality experience and more. Download the poster here, or visit 

Drop in to Shoe Lane Library any time between 12 and 7:30pm to see it for yourself.
Quote of the week:

"By taking work outside, employees get a change of scenery, natural surroundings, fresh air and activity, helping to reduce anxiety and stimulate the brain. Indeed, studies have shown that time spent outside reduces the heart rate, inflammation and levels of fatigue, as well as reducing the stress hormone cortisol...Working outside is a simple but effective means of improving employee wellbeing and mental health."  - "Let's be open about this: Staff should be encouraged to work outdoors", writes Peter Ferrari of AshbyCapital for City A.M.

Business Healthy Challenge update


We are into the final week of the Business Healthy Challenge and the gap is closing in. Local newspaper City Matters picked up on the Challenge too - read the article here.

More than half of all of the 183 teams have earned the 3,000 points needed to be entered into the grand prize draw at the end of the month.

Here are some vital statistics on this free Challenge so far...
  • 649 participants, representing 59 organisations of a range of sizes and sectors
  • 183 teams
  • 785,856 points recorded so far, with walking logged as the most popular activity
As stands, the top five teams are:
  • Thames Typhoons (Nomura)
  • We're here for the teeth whitening (Teneo Consulting)
  • CBT (City of London Corporation)
  • Ouch Potatoes (Nomura)
  • DevTeam (City of London Corporation)
The grand prize draw winners will be announced in the first week of June and there's some great prizes to be won, kindly donated by the Active City Network, Another Space Bank, HOP Vietnamese, Bow Lane Dental, PRESS London and Dermalogica One New Change.

Challenge participants and City workers are able to benefit from a number of free activities taking part across the Square Mile this May, which offer the opportunity to make the most of the warmer weather and lighter evenings and get more active.

There are lots of free lunchtime activities to choose from this week, including guided walks, Run Club and Bootcamp sessions.  For more information and to access the entire timetable, click here.

There are also many free cultural events and activities, for City workers to enjoy, which are available as part of the City Corporation's "Culture Mile" - visit the website for more details.
Coming up...
  • Diabetes Week (10 - 16 June)
While Type 1 diabetes can't be prevented and is not linked to lifestyle, Type 2 diabetes is largely preventable through lifestyle changes and is a leading cause of preventable sight loss in working-age adults. It also contributes to kidney failure, heart attack and stroke.

Anyone aged between 40 and 74 years old can access a free NHS Health Check through their GP, which can flag elevated risk of several serious conditions, including diabetes.

There are many free resources available to promote a healthy diet lower in sugar and salt, which in turn can lower the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. The NHS's Change4Life website is a good starting point - access it here.

Financial education

Close Brothers is running a free, one-day information session for employees who are considering accessing their pension or retiring within the next 12 months.

The session will have a specific focus on pre-retirement and is taking place on Wednesday 19 June, between 9am and 4:30pm at Close Brothers' offices (Crown Place, EC2A 4FT).

Lunch and course literature will be provided. Topics to be covered include: adapting to change; financial planning; state entitlements; making the most of retirement and more. For more information and to book, visit Close Brothers' website here.

Follow us


Do you use LinkedIn or Twitter? Make sure you follow Business Healthy to stay up-to-date on news and developments in the world of employee health and wellbeing in the Square Mile.


Business Healthy is funded and delivered by the City of London Corporation's Public Health team, supporting the City Corporation's statutory obligations to ensure the health and wellbeing of the almost half a million people who work in the Square Mile each day.

Copyright © 2019 Business Healthy, All rights reserved.

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