Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) takes place from 18-24 May this year, and the theme is kindness. As we all adapt to a ‘new normal’, Tony Cates, KPMG in the UK's Vice Chair and Partner, talks about how mental health is more important than ever.
“This Mental Health Awareness Week I’m wearing a digital green ribbon.
While Covid-19 means we’re apart from our family, friends and colleagues, it doesn’t mean we can’t come together as a community to #EndTheStigma of mental health.
I’m incredibly proud of the ways in which everyone at KPMG has supported each other as we work remotely; I’m impressed too at the imaginative ways in which we’ve adapted to help our clients and our communities. We’re also supporting each other, launching initiatives ‘Staying Connected’ – a virtual buddy scheme – and my colleagues in IT’s Her Future are helping families with home schooling, to name just a couple of examples.
Our experiences of lockdown are as unique as we are. I’m lucky to have a home office and a quiet space to take video calls; I know many others are sharing a kitchen table with their flatmates or juggle work with caring responsibilities. It’s important that we acknowledge these differences, accept them and treat each other with kindness and respect. I don’t take ‘fine’ as an answer when asking my team members how they are – I know their first answer might not tell the whole story.
Back in February – which feels a lifetime ago now – I hosted a panel discussion with Sir Ian Cheshire and John Flint on the topic of mental health in the workplace. At the time, I remarked at how far we’ve come and how encouraging it is to see discussions on mental health taking place at the very top of organisations. This crisis means it’s now a permanent item of leaders’ agendas. Extended periods of uncertainty, stress and remote working remind us of how important it is to be kind and to care about the wellbeing of those around us.
Why not join me and show your support for Mental Health Awareness Week this year? It’s simple. Just wear a digital green ribbon and share it as part of The Lord Mayor’s appeal.
And in the meantime, continue to be kind and take care of each other."
Vice Chair and Partner, KPMG in the UK