Blog | Social enterprise

#MentalHealthAwarenessWeek: Businesses don’t run themselves, people do

Carl Gough, Social Business Wales Business Advisor discusses how mental health needs to be a key consideration alongside the economic recovery priorities in order to maintain the resilience of the people helping to push us back into prosperity.

By Mike Erskine · May 22, 2020

See this page in: Cymraeg

The full phrase, ‘Guns don’t kill people, people kill people’ emerged amid the Capone fuelled gang violence of 1920’s America. The powerful message was created by Colt in defence of their manufacture of guns and whilst I’m not advocating the use of guns, I do however recognise the power behind this saying.

Instead I want to take the sentiment of this well-worn phrase and apply it to something of equal importance – ‘Businesses don’t run themselves, people do’! … OK, so maybe not quite as dramatic as the original, but read on and you’ll soon realise why my version, in the midst of this C-19 crisis, is actually far more potent… or indeed, more important.

The Coronavirus pandemic brought concern for physical health and our NHS. Then came Lockdown which brought concern about the economy and recession. But in the midst of all these concerns was something else of equal (or arguably greater) importance but it seemed ignored. Many people were experiencing it but it wasn’t talked about on the news, or in the press. In fact I don’t recall seeing it discussed openly at all! I’m talking about the impact on our mental health.

Businesses that begin to recognise and prioritise the mental health and well-being of their staff will undoubtedly do better on the long road back from the brink.

Carl Gough

To be fair, perception around mental health has come a long way, but its absence from mainstream consideration in the current crisis demonstrates there is still a long way to go. For me, I’ve had my battles over the years, I know too well the debilitating nature of anxiety and stress and how emotions can hold you prisoner. Given the extreme nature of the current crisis, I think many more people have come to appreciate the impact on our wellbeing when thoughts turn dark or fearful. The irony of course is that mental health issues made people feel socially isolated long before this pandemic.

With the curve flattened, it seems the economy is now becoming the priority. Whilst we busy ourselves with the tangible issues of cashflow, funding, furlough and adapting our businesses, mental health is still at the heart of what will make or break our economy. Our recovery is dependent upon the resilience of our businesses and our business will only be as resilient as the people working within them. Businesses that begin to recognise and prioritise the mental health and well-being of their staff will undoubtedly do better on the long road back from the brink. The urge is to rush, I know, I feel it too but this will be a marathon not a sprint. We must all learn to pace ourselves and consciously recognise that supporting the well-being of individual members of staff and ourselves, will be central to not only surviving, but thriving in this post Covid world. Remember, ‘Businesses don’t run themselves, people do’ and only by taking care of ‘People’ can we hope to take care of ‘Business’!

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