Mental Wellbeing in the Age of Covid | Interview with Dr. Hazel Harrison

Despite recent advances, the approach to mental health and wellbeing at work is still a burgeoning topic for many organizations. Covid-19 has disrupted routines and office-based working environments. The stress and anxiety caused by the economic and public health climate, combined with a loss of purpose and meaning, is posing an unprecedented challenge.

Now is the time to instill best practices in wellbeing throughout organizations to ensure synergy across the business, and within teams, we argue. In this interview Adam Saunders, Amrop Global Board Member and Managing Partner of Amrop UK, talks with Dr. Hazel Harrison, a Clinical Psychologist with more than 10 years' professional experience in both the National Health Service (NHS) and private sector.

Hazel established ThinkAvellana with a mission to bring psychology out of clinics and into the mainstream and has since developed associations within healthcare, business, education and coaching. She develops and delivers keynotes and workshops on a broad range of wellbeing topics, harnessing her long held belief that prevention is better than cure. Hazel holds a doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the University of East Anglia, and a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Media from the University of Leeds.

Adam sat down with Hazel to discuss the challenges to our mental health and wellbeing that we have all faced through the COVID-19 pandemic. We define what mental health and wellbeing are in the context of the individual and organizations, before delving into how we can build best practices to support our wellbeing to see us through the pandemic.

Hazel, you describe all people as having “mental health, just like we all have physical health”, what does that mean in the context of mental health today?

Yes, one of the things that has happened over the last few years is a shift for us all to become more aware of what mental health and wellbeing really mean. We are at a turning point where we are starting to understand the necessity of taking care of our mental health in the same way that we would our physical health.

Most people are beginning to alter their perspectives on mental health and are developing an appreciation of just how important mental health is. We are starting to understand that like our physical health, we need to work hard to maintain, or improve, and that we will move up and down a spectrum of mental health depending on a variety of life circumstances and aspects of genetics.

I hope that one day we will reach a place where rather than saying that we have separate physical and mental health, we all say “we just have health” and we understand that the two are intrinsically linked.

Mental health – why does it matter?

For so many reasons, from a clinical psychology perspective taking care of our mental health and wellbeing is so much about what makes us human — it encapsulates how we thrive and flourish to live fulfilling lives. Research suggests that in business, individuals with high levels of wellbeing are more likely to be productive and engaged in tasks, and have stronger positive relationships, ultimately contributing to the development of a high functioning team.

Go here for the full interview.

 

Key Messages

Mental health and wellbeing today

A Shifting Place: We are at a turning point in our understanding of the necessity to take care of our mental health in the same way we would our physical health.

Repetition is Key: It is important to focus on regular small steps that improve our mental health and wellbeing, reinforcing learning with repetition.

Wellbeing in business

Set the Example: Everyone is accountable for good wellbeing but it is crucial that this is modelled and shared by powerful individuals in an organization.

Kindness is King: Kindness and compassion to ourselves and others can create tremendous ripples of positive change through organizations.

Driving change

Experiment: It is important to keep experimenting. Finding methods and ways of working that are successful for each of us, whilst keeping in mind that these methods may differ for others.

Over-communicate: Only with enhanced communication can we create a space where employees can be vulnerable enough to ask for what they need, for leaders to support other leaders.

Go here for the full interview.

 

Originally recorded as an episode of the Amrop UK Coffee First podcast series. Listen to all episodes here:

Apple Podcasts

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/coffee-first/id1518315898?ign-mpt=uo%3D

Spotify

https://open.spotify.com/show/7Kd81fea1gPSuEo9OihL97

Audioboom

https://audioboom.com/channels/5026475