22 May, 2020

We’re all in this together: Mental Health Awareness Week

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and the theme is kindness, as research has shown that kindness and mental health are deeply connected.

We know kindness is an antidote to isolation, it strengthens our relationships, develops community and deepens solidarity and being kind to ourselves boosts our self-esteem. And if, like many of us, your mental wellbeing has been impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, kindness from someone in your life could make all the difference.

One in four people experience mental health issues every year and each of us are going through our own challenges reacting to the current situation in our own unique way. But now more than ever before, looking after your mental health is equally as important as looking after your physical health.

At M&S we prioritise the wellbeing of our colleagues all year round, whether that’s helping new starters settle in and feel confident or working with colleagues who have been with the business a long time to ensure they feel their best. In light of the Covid-19 Pandemic, our PAM partner, Adam, has highlighted their support and expertise at this unprecedented time:

“There’s nothing more important to M&S than their colleagues health and wellbeing and never more so than at this time” says Adam. “Our Health and Wellbeing Partners at PAM group are on hand to provide expert guidance to all M&S colleagues and their family members too. Offering one to one support to maintain good mental health as well as access to free counselling and online CBT where needed.”

Our colleagues

M&S colleagues can access Mental Wellbeing resources on the COVID-19 colleague support site for lots of ways to look after their mental wellbeing and support others. Through our partnership with PAM group, the Health and Wellbeing experts are available day and night where colleagues are offered free and confidential support for mental health, physical health, financial wellbeing, occupational health and any other personal concerns. Colleagues can also get in touch with our colleague-led inclusion groups who can help (Buddy Network, Parents Net, BAME, GEN, LGBTQ+ or Veterans Network).

How you can support

There are lots that you can do to help, and it all starts with a bit of awareness. We can all show some kindness whether it’s arranging a virtual tea and catch up or just sending a message to someone to say you are thinking of them. Faisal our PMA (positive mental attitude) ambassador for M&S Food says one of the simplest starting points to a healthy mind is talking and listening, and not just listening to respond but listening to hear what the person is saying. He encourages us all to consciously take that bit more interest in those around us.

Keep talking to your friends and family and your colleagues around you to show #kindnessmatters.

We’re all in this together.

Inside M&S