This Can Happen, the first of its kind and wow did it make a great first impression. Attended
by The Duke of Cambridge and with a host of experts, speakers and those willing to discuss their personal experience This Can Happen brought together the largest ever gathering of companies and organisations to discuss improving mental health in the workplace.
Founded by Zoe Sinclair of 'Employees Matter", Jonny Benjamin and Neil Laybourn who captured public attention through Channel 4's 'The Stranger on The Bridge'. The story of Jonny's efforts to find the 'friendly stranger' Neil, who convinced him not to take his own life on Waterloo Bridge back in 2008.
This Can Happen, a solutions led conference with the aim of raising awareness of the impact of mental health in the workplace and ultimately making prevention a top priority for business.
This 'sold out' groundbreaking event, the largest of it's kind focusing on mental health in the workplace, was attended by around 750 people. Bringing together business leaders and mental health advocates from the U.K and U.S. All hoping to make a difference. And although this event was only a first step towards the work that needs to be done, it was an inspiring first step.
Set in London against the backdrop of the Intercontinental Hotel, the event was opened by Zoe, Sinclair who passionately set the scene for the days proceedings.
What followed was a day not only of inspiration and creating the vision of how different life could be for employees if mental health was addressed in the workplace but also a stark reminder of how massive this issue is and how important banishing the stigma of mental health is to all of us.
Personal life and work life are linked, its unrealistic to presume that they are not and as highlighted at the event 'it's about bringing together the human', the whole person, heart, soul, body and mind.
The Duke of Cambridge emotionally shared that whilst working for the air ambulance, responding to traumatic incidents, he was left feeling "very sad and and very down" noting that "after I had my own children, I think the relation between the job and the personal life was what really took me over the edge"
He went on to discuss the importance of creating a culture of openness and not being embarrassed of our emotions, whilst stressing how the workplace is a massive part of improving mental health in the wider context.
This was a well thought event that gave opportunity to break down what is a massive topic into relevant key areas, which included, Returning to work after absence, Men and mental health and Menopause and mental health to name just a few.
Not only insightful, but this also gave the opportunity to practically consider all the parts which complete the overall mental health picture and how they can be addressed within mental health and wellbeing strategies, which is not only good for business but also helps employees to thrive.
This wasn't a tokenistic event, it was meaningful, informative and highlighted how and why change needs to happen and given that not only was there big business representation in the room alongside highly regarded organisations it felt like a defining moment, the beginning of a new way forward for wellbeing in the workplace and if we all get behind it, This Can Happen.