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2nd Edition 

Mental Health & Well-being: A Multi-Disciplinary Approach 

14 - 16 September 2020 / Barcelona, Spain 

Live Streaming and On-Demand

How has COVID-19 crisis already affected the mental health and well-being of people in the workplace? 

Lock-down hasn’t been easy for a lot of people and that has had a big impact on their mental health. Many of my client’s are telling me about people struggling with working from home, having to manage home schooling on top of work. They describe difficult team dynamics, loss of confidence and a general lack of energy and enthusiasm in those they manage. There is a very interesting piece of research published in 2015, by Math and colleagues, that  identified four phases that people pass through following a crisis. They called these the hero phase,  the adaptation phase and the recovery phase. It’s helpful because it helps us understand employee behaviour and predict future behaviour. In the hero phase. People want to help. This is when lots gets done. Perhaps you were surprised by how quickly your organisation has been able to seamlessly shift to online working. That is a function of this hero phase. This lasts about a week before settling down into an Adaptation period. This is where people start working from home and getting used to using Zoom. It's still a bit of a novelty and people still feel quite excited. This phase lasts up to about eight weeks. Unfortunately, the adaptation phase is a bit of a honeymoon period because sooner or later, we, metaphorically speaking, fall off the edge of the cliff into a much longer period of disillusionment and chronic stress. I think that this is where we are now – some of us are in this phase and others are  just peeking over the edge of the disillusionment cliff. This disillusionment phase can last a long time. During this period, people are feeling generally fed up, and some feel detached from work. This is where you will see a rise in mental-health problems like stress, anxiety and depression. What I’m hearing now is many people are feeling a bit flat and  lack energy and confidence-and I worry that it will get worse. 

What are the  implications  for Mental Health and  Well-being professionals? 

As I have just said, I think we will see an increase in employees seeking help for mental health issues. We’re also likely to see an increase in sickness absence for general health problems. There are a lot of people who experience things like anxiety as a physical problem like a bad back or headaches. The most important first step though is to have some awareness of how this unique situation is affecting people in different ways; of how it’s affecting energy, outlook and behavior and in turn, how that’s likely to be affecting team dynamics. Mental health and well being professionals will have to find a way to help people to start to rebuild their psychological scaffolding - to figure out new routines and habits, new ways to recharge their batteries. Well being professionals will play a key role in breathing some  positivity back into the organisation. I firmly believe that this can be a fantastic opportunity to learn and improve how we care for our people and come out of this far stronger, more adaptable and more resilient than before Covid. 

Should we approach Mental Health & Well-being differently in a post-COVID environment? 

Yes, I think we should be a lot more proactive in how we approach mental well being at work. The mental well being, by which I mean energy and enthusiasm, ability to focus and resilience, is going to be the central issue in how businesses recover after lockdown. If your people, especially your managers, aren’t coping, then that will make any recovery much harder, if not impossible. Mental well being should be part of business strategy and should be seen as a boardroom issue. 

You are speaking, at the conference on men's mental health at work: What is so different about Men's Mental Health?

Well, to begin, I believe that mental health problems in men are under diagnosed. Without wishing to generalise too much, in my experience as a psychologist, most women tend to be better than most men at identifying their feelings, talking about them and asking for help.  Some men  struggle to talk about emotions such as sadness, emptiness or worry; and how these unsaid feelings can easily evolve into problems like depression or anxiety.  Suicide is now the biggest killer of men globally, with twice as many men than women taking their own life.  If you are a man, you are more likely to die from suicide than heart disease or cancer. Rates of stress, depression and addictions in men are soaring.  We are all familiar with the signs and symptoms of poor mental health: anxiety, low mood, insomnia and so on. I’d like to propose some other symptoms that are unique to depressed men. For example, drinking too much or using drugs to blot out feelings, behaving recklessly, driving too fast or spending, to distract from the feelings, getting irritable, aggressive and angry to prevent others from seeing the vulnerability and pain.  I’m slowly beginning to think that the mental health industry operates under a false assumption. The average therapist assumes that everybody has a ‘female brain’ - just like them! Most therapists, male or female, assume everyone has the ability to talk about their feelings. Many  men just feel things, but struggle to verbalise their feelings. These are the men who kill themselves. 

What would you like to achieve by attending the Mental Health & Well-being Conference? 

I’m really looking forward to meeting others, learning from them and sharing my passion for mental health. Also, I love Barcelona. 

An interview with:

Dr. Michael Drayton / Clinical Psychologist and Executive Coach
Fellow of the UK Cabinet Office
Emergency Planning College

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With changing work-life habits, people working remotely, having much more screen time than before, as well as increasing levels of anxiety and depression across the entire workforce due to a global pandemic crisis, companies are reassessing their approach to Mental Health and Well-being strategy. A meaningful and sustained employee Well-being programme is no longer perceived as an extravagance, it is a business imperative. The evidence has been building for years linking high levels of employee Well-being to improved business performance, productivity, and staff retention, and 2020 comes out as the best time for focus on Health!

This annual cross-industry conference will allow you to identify the key aspects of your strategy and build a joint board-supported Mental Health and Well-being programme in a crisis environment. We will discuss the importance of healthy workforce; learn how to cope with anxiety at work, and focus on social, environmental, and financial Well-being. By attending this event, you will be able to discuss the most controversial topics with the greatest European leaders in the domain of Mental Health and Well-being.

Can’t physically attend this conference? Don’t worry whilst your ability to travel may have been restricted we know your appetite for key business insights remains; our Live+ digital platform has you covered. Take advantage of our online live stream of the event, enabling you to attend all event presentations remotely; engage with speakers, take part in polling and benefit from the Q&A. In additional all presentations will be available on-demand, hosted on our digital platform for your to re-visit and continue to access for up to 6 months post event. 

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About the conference

We would be delighted to provide you with more information on the conference agenda.  Please fill in your details below and we will be in touch.

Dr Mike Drayton is an organisational consultant, executive coach and clinical psychologist. He is also a Fellow of the Cabinet Office Emergency Planning College. He is the author of ‘Anti-burnout: how to create a psychologically safe, high performance organization,’ to be published by Routledge later this year. Mike specialises in leadership and resilience. He has worked internationally, including Zurich, Amsterdam, Madrid, Frankfurt  and Moscow. His clients include a global consumer electronics company, airlines, and a multinational pharmaceutical company. He also works with public sector organisations including the Cabinet Office, The National Archive, The Met Office  and NHS England.  Mike was educated at LSE, Oxford Saïd Business School and the University of Birmingham. 

To view the Conference Agenda, click HERE! 

For all enquiries regarding speaking, sponsoring and attending this conference contact:

Yiota Andreou
Email: Yiotaa@marcusevanscy.com
Telephone: +357 22849 404
Fax: +357 22 849 394