Mental Health Awareness Week

Hey everyone, you may not know it but this week is Mental Health Awareness Week. This year’s focus is body image (#BeBodyKind).

Mental Health Foundation’s surveys have shown that 1 in 5 adults felt shame about their body image in the last year, over a third of UK adults have felt anxious due to body image concerns, and just over 1 in 5 adults (and 40% of teenagers!) said social media images caused them to worry about their body image.

At Pure Planet we recently sent 2 members of our team on a course to become Mental Health First Aiders.

Following their training they presented about their experience to the rest of the PP team and discussed that if anyone has any issues, they can approach them in total confidentiality to be pointed in the right direction for support depending on their needs.

As well as this, policies such as dress code are particularly helpful in terms of body image. Here at PP we can (to a certain extent:rolleyes:) wear whatever we’re comfortable with to the office, whether that’s jeans and a hoody or smart trousers and a shirt, there’s no judgement.
This really helps us to focus on work and not be worrying about whether today’s outfit is ‘smart’ enough, or not be boiling to death in a suit when it’s lovely and sunny outside.

One of the studies carried out showed that 8% of women would avoid going to work if they felt badly about their appearance, which makes a relaxed dress code policy seem even more relevant to promoting positivity in the workplace.

Does your office have similar policies in place? :raisinghands:

I once went to a job interview for which I had to wear a suit - I was so uncomfortable in it I spent half the time fidgeting to get comfy and half the time questioning if I looked smart enough/ if my shirt was crinkled/ if I should've worn heels or not (that's another thing... I cannot imagine 'having' to walk around all day in heels!!). Purely because I felt so uneasy it really impacted my concentration on the actual interview. Versus in the PP office with the more relaxed approach to work-wear I can dress practically for my day with no worries - trainers for my commute, jumpers if it's cold and dresses if it's warm! :cool:

Anyone else agree or disagree? What do you think we can do in the UK to improve mental health awareness and body image positivity?

7 replies

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Interesting. I didn't realise the focus was the on the bodyshame / appearance. I'm invested in mental health and want to help anybody where I can that way - as a sufferer of despression myself. As I've got older though, I worry less and things have improved a lot. Doc asked if I wanted to come of my (mild, low dose) medication but while it's not harming me, I decided to keep going for now.

I've never really liked my body - I was always too skinny and now I'm pretty much middle age (and in denail about it) I'm just developing the 'Dad bod' 😃 As regards clothing, I hate dressing up. Formal trousers always feel uncomfortable - much prefer jeans and a t-shirt. Luckily at work we're very relaxed and as longas we don't look scruffy in front of customers, we're ok. I only ever wear a suite for Weddings and Funerals - and not even then if I can help it!!
Can't imagine having to cope with heals!
Userlevel 7
Badge +8
Couldn’t agree more. Nat, your workplace has superb policy re dress code. We’re public sector, and altho no uniform, it’s always to be smart, no jeans, no sneakers, men in shirt and ties, not suits if warm, but deffo ties. It’s very old school, as even if got meetings thru the day, I am sure most of the staff they’re meeting with, feel the same.

Agree totally re footwear. I like sensible and practical. I’ve said before on here, if I could wear onesy, I would! But seriously, one needs comfort, and sneakers or pumps are sooooooo comfortable. Loose attire or comfy attire is paramount to me. It’s seriously a massive factor and I can sooooo see where you’re coming from re feeling so uncomfortable at that interview that you couldn’t even focus.

Some of us feel hotter or colder than others, I feel for all the men in 👔👔👔👔👔in summer, and women in smart, uncomfortable attire when they are permanently hot for medical reasons etc. So many work places still so so so old school in so many ways sadly 👎👎👎
Really nice and honest reply @Jowl - yeah they do a different focus each year, think body image is a great one as it's something that affects so many of us in so many ways..

Great to hear your work is quite relaxed about it too 🆙
@Bev totally agreed, practical shoes just. make. sense! :rolleyes:
Great point about medical reasons, didn't think of that before. Just adds to the stress!

What about mental health awareness in the workplace, is there much discussion around it/ awareness raising where you work? Have you seen an increased focus in it over the last few years?
​For example here we always recommend apps etc. to each other like Headspace and Mindfulness.
Just starting that dialogue with people can have a great impact and give people a little nudge to ask for help if they need it (knowing they're in a safe environment) 💪
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We have do have a 'lead' person who has attending well being courses and we're encrouaged to talk to them in person or by our message system.

We're a small company but any recruiment is made with an eye on if the person fits in with the team. We have a very close relationship and that's more important than skill level in many respects. I think that helps with the mental side of things. We also have an understanding management team - they know if they look after us, we'll look after them!

I'm a firm believe that if you dread going to work every day or are unhappy in your work you need to make a change. I appreciate that's not always easy and I'm fortunate to never really having been in that position. Ironically the closest was when I was working for a friend!
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In the last six months, we have started a little group within the workplace, in work time, all approved, mixture of directors, managers, admin, health profs etc, all optional if wanted to join. The focus is on health and well-being in the workplace. Proving a real success. Lots coming to light re mental health, lots of fundraising for nominated charities, last month Red Cross 🍪🍰🥧🍮bake sale, plus a dance routine 💃🏻🕺out in the car park one sunny lunchtime of the Macarena 😂😂😂😂👍. Everyone in a line for the entire song, to give em an endorphin boost 🙆*♀️🙅*♂️before returning back to their desks 😂👍😁👏👏👏👏. Little things like that tho all help, even if it’s just to get individuals thinking 🙇*♂️🙇*♀️about their wellbeing. Sooooo many just get into habit of working thru lunch, and not taking a break 👩*💻👨*💻or even moving from their desks. A few years back, you’d be rushing round all day long to the fax, the photocopier, the post room, the stairs. Now everything is soooooo sluggish; all email and web based, peeps only move to go to the bathroom 🚽or the coffee van ☕️🙄🙄🙄👎. I think office based work nowadays has got to be one of the most unhealthiest careers we can go into.
@Jowl I think sometimes when you're working with friends or family it can get really tricky because things can feel a lot more personal than they otherwise would or should!
Really interesting you mention about hiring people who fit the company culture - sooo important imo, not just for the people who work there but also for the new team member 🆙
@Bev woah that sounds so great, that's a lovely initiative 😃 love that you did the macarena ;)) really good and fun idea!

Getting outside and away from the desk is super important, when we moved office we introduced a new 'rule' that you can't eat lunch at your desk, has really helped encourage people to use the kitchen space and have a chat and proper break :o

Maybe I should get us to do the macarena too... or maybe YMCA? 🆒
Great thread Nat.

It's fascinating how little mental health is spoken about considering it has an impact on so many of us.

We're really lucky to have two qualified mental first aiders in the team here at Pure Planet - Sally and Tom. We've recently written a blog which shares the experiences of Sally and Tom on the course.

Take a look at it for yourselves here.