Strengthening our approach to mental health.
Tomorrow, Saturday 10 October 2020, is World Mental Health Day, an important marker and timely reminder of the importance of good mental health which in these difficult times is more important than ever. Around the world there are 450 million people currently suffering from mental or neurological disorders*, a figure that is likely to rise as a result of COVID-19. It’s impossible to ignore the effect this pandemic is having on our lives.
During lockdown many people were separated from their loved ones and existing support networks, putting greater pressure on their mental health and resilience. However, we were all ‘in it together’ - a common experience where good causes were celebrated and our spirits were supported through creativity, exercise, prayer and communities coming together.
As summer quickly morphs into autumn we have entered a new phase in the management of COVID-19, with new restrictions on gatherings and social engagement, and a return to many people having to work from home. This time it’s an uncommon experience where some maintain their pre-COVID-19 ‘normal’ life while others face a winter where they are more isolated, have access to reduced support networks and will do so without the healing power of the summer sun.
Investing in our own good mental health is therefore essential. At the start of lockdown we quickly understood that our team of normally very active people had reduced their levels of exercise. Exercise is part of who our people are: we have gym obsessives who count their grams of protein and are constantly hydrating, cyclists, trekkers, footballers and extreme gardens.
For me it’s the walk to work which helps me transition from my home life to work, burn off some calories and keeps me connected to my community and city. Regular exercise can help address mild to moderate depression and has a positive impact on anxiety, ADHD and stress. It also helps improve memory, the quality of sleep and your overall mood.
To promote movement and increased physical activity during COVID-19, we introduced the Indesser team to Scooch, an online app that helps employers put employee health and positive change for communities and the environment at the heart of their company. The Scooch app enable team members to log movement, activity, exercise, and compete to be top of the Scooch league. It converts movement into Social Value including: trees planted; villages fed (with eco-farmed fish); clean water days for schools; lives saved from malaria; and weeks of guide dog training. Furthermore, physically active employees result in a healthier, happier and more productive workforce.
Shital Majithia from Indesser has been a real champion of Scooch within the team. She has done an incredible job of promoting Scooch and encouraging movement. This is what she had to say:
"Scooch is amazing! We first started using it in May 2020 and I feel like it came along at just the right time as the COVID-19 lockdown had been in place for over a month. This gave the team some healthy competition, focus and a talking point. As well as supporting our health and wellbeing it encouraged physical movement and created a shared experience. I really enjoy hearing the stories from my colleagues about how they are moving more and, in some instances, have taken up new activities. For me, I know I am super competitive and seeing my activity convert to real Social Value fills me with a great sense of achievement, as well as pride to work for Indesser."
Statistics from Scooch show that since May Indesser has contributed to planting 271 trees** as well as 161 lives saved from malaria** amongst other social impact. Long may this continue.
*Source: World Health Organisation