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World Mental Health Day

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It’s okay: #IWillListen

Why is it that we are more comfortable discussing our physical health than our mental wellbeing? When you think about it, it’s strange that we openly discuss our broken bones and strained muscles but feel awkward to admit openly that we have difficulty coping when our brain is overloaded. And because we work in services, we rely on our brains to do a good job.

We decided that World Mental Health Day would mark a day of action, where we tell all NGA HR employees that it’s okay to talk about mental health issues – and we will listen.

Last week, NGA HR’s CEO Andy Monshaw and Chief People Officer Michael Rogers kicked off a series of global World Mental Health Day events from our Jacksonville, FL office.

With many of our 5,300 people watching from 35 locations across the world, they were joined by a thought leader in this space. Former Deutsche Bank Executive and Board Member of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Barbara Ricci, spoke with employees about her experiences of mental health in the workplace. Barbara was this week recognized by the NAMI New York City branch at the NAMI Seeds of Hope Gala Dinner – of which NGA was a silver sponsor – for her work in coaching organizations on how to embrace the topic of mental wellbeing in the workplace.

Colleagues also heard practical tips about using relaxation and meditation techniques to manage stress at work and at home. Matt Savarick from the innovative mindfulness application – Headspace – gave employees a demonstration into the world of mindfulness.

Andy concluded proceeding by speaking about the launch of our internal #IWillListen campaign. A key enabler of NGA’s World of Opportunity people strategy, the campaign aims to promote mental health and wellbeing across our 35 countries globally.

#IWillListen is about a simple pledge. NGA HR want to create a climate for our employees to feel comfortable to discuss mental health and how it affects them. We want to support our employees to address their own mental health issues and/or their families. We recognize that mental health may affect the wellbeing and the effectiveness of our employees directly and/or indirectly.

Colleagues from our remaining locations were invited to live stream the event from Jacksonville, host their own local discussion events and commit their support for their #IWillListen campaign. From Dalian, China to St John’s, Canada – the majority of our 5,300 Payroll & HR specialists took part in the day. They actively participated: many of them wrote their pledge on the #IWillListenwall. We had Yammer conversations where employees shared their personal mental health stories and others gave tips on how they deal with stress and anxiety in the workplace and at home. It was a day of sharing, caring and learning.

To see more from the launch event in Jacksonville, watch the video below.