Time to redefine mental health at work

A Manchester-based charity seeks to redefine mental health at work

This pandemic has reopened the debate on mental wellbeing, throwing a spotlight on the rat race and the impact of coping with Covid. Working with the charity 42nd Street, a group of young people in Manchester are hoping to redefine how mental health coexists with our working lives. By Michael Delaney.

So, who are 42nd Street?

42nd Street has almost four decades of experience working to improve the mental well being of young people from the Greater Manchester area.

The organisation provides all sorts of support for people between the ages of 11 and 25, including 1-to-1 counselling and therapy sessions, as well as opportunities to be involved in creative projects and social action campaigns.

With the standard 9-5 model, we spend 5 out of 7 days a week at work. It is a significant part of our lives, and the stresses and strains of our work environment can have a huge impact on our mental well being.

Off the back of the ‘Thrive at Work’ report conducted by the government in 2017, the group have been looking to create a new standard for better supporting young people’s mental health at work.

Everyone working on the report has had, what is called, ‘lived experiences’ of mental health conditions. In essence, they’ve been there, got the t-shirt. They’re now looking to take those experiences to help others who find themselves in similar situations.

Having interviewed peers from across the Greater Manchester area, the group are in the process of condensing their findings into an official report.

Their hope is to present their findings to local employers, and put forward a set of ‘Standards’ for businesses to implement and best support people’s wellbeing at work.

These are set to include things such as mental health sick days and ways for business to tackle the stigma of talking about mental health at work.

In the last few weeks, it feels like we’ve had a chance to pause and reconnect with ourselves and others. As we come out the other side of lockdown, there is an opportunity for us to redefine the boundaries of our everyday.

The report is set to be released later this year as businesses return to some sense of normality. The hope is that this is the chance to forge a better way of working.

You can follow developments and support their through the 42nd Street Facebook page.

Do you think businesses should use this as a time to improve wellbeing at work?