In May 2021 we celebrated the two-year anniversary of Headway, a workplace mental health movement Sklar Wilton & Associates launched in memory of our founder, Luke Sklar. In this blog series, we’ll showcase success stories from our Headway members and highlight the specific actions they’ve taken to elevate the importance of employee mental health. We hope their stories will inspire others to follow in their footsteps.
Mental health became even more evident and important in 2020 when the COVID pandemic hit and companies across Canada were faced with the biggest workplace mental health crisis they had ever experienced. And business leaders stepped up! We’ve seen some incredible actions from our Headway members in their commitment to prioritize the wellbeing of their employees.
This week we are sharing the inspirational story coming from WW Canada on how they are supporting mental health & wellbeing within their organization. We had a chance to connect with Kevin O’Brien, President and General Manager of WW Canada to talk a bit about the work their team is doing.
Why have you chosen to prioritize mental wellbeing within your organization?
(KO): Practically speaking, a team will function at its best when it operates in a safe, mentally well culture. More broadly, it is important to address mental health in the same way we address broader health priorities – it requires the same focus and attention.
What has your organization done recently to support the mental wellbeing of your employees?
(KO): The most prominent initiative has been adapting the Not Myself Today content to engage the broader team in a series of discussions that include personal sharing and break-out discussions. It delivers on education, normalizing the topic and establishing a culture of acceptance and support.
What is the biggest barrier or challenge to making headway with mental health in your organization?
(KO): The largest challenge we face in making even more progress on mental health is knowledge, experience, and confidence.
How has the pandemic influenced your organization’s prioritization of mental health and what actions, if any, would you attribute to the pandemic?
(KO): The pandemic has simply put an even brighter spotlight on the topic of mental health. The priority we placed on our Not Myself Today initiative was certainly increased by the challenges of the pandemic.
What are three things you pledge to do in the next year to further prioritize mental wellbeing in your organization?
(KO): First, continue to build on the success of Not Myself Today. Next, ensure the topic stays a part of the leadership team’s agenda – both in concept and where we have specific needs. And lastly, discuss the topic openly in Town Hall Meetings.
What does the future of mental wellbeing look like in your organization and how will you get there?
(KO): I look forward to the day when mental health and mental wellbeing are as openly supported as broader health and wellness.
We want to thank Kevin O’Brien for sharing the work they’ve been doing at WW Canada. These types of workplace initiatives go a long way to de-stigmatize mental health in the workplace and create strong cultures of acceptance and support. We are excited to see how this continues to flourish within their organization.
Looking for more inspiration on how to bring change to your organization? We will continue sharing how our Headway members have prioritized mental wellbeing in their own workplaces in the hopes that it will help to inspire other leaders to do the same. We know that only through strong commitment and bold action can we see real change.