Greetings and welcome to a brand new episode of The F Word at Work. Before we kick things off, we genuinely value your feedback, so kindly consider leaving us a review on the platform you’re using to listen, whether it’s Apple or Spotify.
Now, in this episode, we have the pleasure of being joined by Emma Flaxman. Emma’s career had been centered around marketing for many years. However, in 2019, she received a remarkable opportunity to become a mental health first-aid volunteer, which proved to be a life-changing decision, eventually leading her to her current role in a PhD position.
A deeply personal reason drove Flaxman to seize this chance as she had experienced the harrowing possibility of losing her sister to suicide ten years prior. The mental health training inspired her to establish MINDS, the first DE&I Group within Ph.D. As a result, she was soon entrusted with the responsibility of overseeing Wellbeing content for the entire parent group, Omnicom Media Group (OMG).
Within her Wellbeing role, Emma created a range of resources to educate employees on the impact of mental illness on work. She initiated projects like the Open Letters series, aiming to foster open conversations about mental health experiences among Ph.D. employees. She also made mental health training mandatory for all employees, previously an optional initiative, and passionately advocated for new benefits, such as providing free therapy to all employees. This move gained overwhelming support, with Ph.D. boasting the highest number of sign-ups for this program compared to any other agency within OMG.
What we discussed:
● Introduction to the podcast and the guest, Emma Flaxman.
● Emma’s background and roles as a wellbeing partner at PhD, a UK media agency.
● Emma’s blog, “Insanely Normal,” and her mission to promote mental health awareness in the UK.
● Emma’s recent journey to becoming a mental health advocate, starting with her training as a Mental Health First Aider in 2019.
● Emma’s personal motivation, as her sister’s struggles with mental health inspired her to help others.
● The increase in mental health-related calls after her training, and the insights she gained from the data collected during those calls.
● Discussion on workplace support for mental health and the role of workplace wellbeing.
● Comparison of experiences in promoting mental health in the workplace between the host’s project, Fertility Matters at Work, and Emma’s initiatives.
● The importance of data and evidence in making a business case for workplace wellbeing.
● The relationship between building a positive workplace culture and the mental health of employees.
● The importance of mental health support in the workplace and the impact of COVID-19 on mental health discussions.
● The role of managers in promoting mental health and wellbeing in the workplace.
● The need for proactive mental health support and the shift from reactive to proactive approaches.
● Challenges in discussing and disclosing mental health issues, particularly in relation to fertility issues.
● Strategies for smaller organizations to address mental health without extensive resources.
● The importance of role modeling and leadership in creating a psychologically safe environment.
● The significance of education and understanding different aspects of wellness, including physical, nutrition, and mental health.
● Emma’s personal experience with burnout and the importance of setting boundaries and prioritizing self-care.
Thanks to our sponsor Apricity Fertility
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