Mental health matters. That has become even clearer to me as we have all faced into the challenges of living through a global pandemic.
During the last year, millions of us and our loved ones have experienced a mental health problem of one sort or another. Given what we have been through, that’s not unexpected. But mental health problems can quickly become more serious when they are not addressed.
From the studies I have read to conversations with family, friends and team members here at Boots, I know that a proactive approach to mental health from individuals, organisations and institutions yields the best results. Also important is a culture of openness when it comes to mental health.
That is why this May, Boots was proud to support this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, the theme of which is connecting with nature.
Throughout human history, we have lived as part and parcel of our natural surroundings. Due to an increase in urbanisation, it is only in the last five generations that many of us have lived and worked in a context that is largely separated from nature. However, spending time in nature has been shown to help with reducing, some of the feelings of stress, anxiety and depression.
Last week, Boots encouraged all team members to get out into our natural surroundings for at least 30 minutes – for example by going for a walk, working in the garden or enjoying lunch outside. We also teamed up with wellbeing community organisation, Her Spirit, to bring our team members a 21 Day Walking Challenge.
However, our work in the area of supporting mental health does not finish at the end of the week. At Boots, we have a range of initiatives available to help team members, customers and our community more broadly to help improve their mental health.
For team members:
- Mental health support is available through Lifeworks and the Boots Benevolent Fund supports those in financial crisis.
- Boots encourages open and honest conversations about mental health throughout the business.
- The Boots Wellbeing Hub also contains a wealth of information, guidance and tips for team members.
- Pharmacists can give advice on mental health related medication.
- We offer a range of products and advice in store and online to support customers with their mental health and wellbeing, including our Headspace range.
For our community:
- Boots has partnerships with the Prince’s Trust, Macmillan Cancer Support and the Hygiene Bank.
- All these organisations provide vital services, which in turn boosts the physical and mental wellbeing of some of society’s most vulnerable people.
I hope everyone reading this blog had a positive Mental Health Awareness Week. At Boots, we believe that everyone has a right to feel good – inside and out – so please do try to connect with nature on a regular basis to help improve your mental wellbeing and then share your experiences with your friends, families and team members.
Ben Horner - HR Director, Boots UK & ROI