World Mental Health Day is turning 30 this year. Since 1992, every year has brought forth different issues from the year before. Every year we know we have even more opportunities to make a difference and support our people. This year, Edelman is once again recognizing our 6,000+ Edelman colleagues with a global closure on October 10 in recognition of World Mental Health Day (Offices in Canada will be closed on October 7 due to the national holiday on October 10).
I know that many of our colleagues are looking forward to spending quality time with their family, friends and loved ones, or simply by themselves. Maybe you will share in memories and laughs, cook favorite meals, take a long walk in a park and do something that feels really good for your mind, body and soul.
I am so very proud to be part of a global leadership team that takes action, trusts and unequivocally supports the mental health and wellbeing of our colleagues, each of whom do extraordinary work for our clients and are there to support one another.
When I joined Edelman as Global Chief People Officer, I brought my people-first approach to how we take care of our 6,000+ colleagues worldwide. A leadership approach that has a ‘People First’ philosophy may seem completely obvious, like a finance team that says it wants to stay on budget. No. Being ‘People First’ is personal, more intentional and far more necessary than ever before.
As a global society, we continue to advance the destigmatizing associated with mental health, however organizations globally still have much work to do to ensure adoption and acceptance of this in the workplace. The World Health Organization reports suicides increased in 2021, with close to 800,000 deaths a year globally. This is tragic.
Of course, one mental day a year isn’t the magic pill; it is the start of recognizing the importance of mental health in our day-to-day lives. By being aware, we can help to identify causes of mental illness, destigmatize it, and most importantly, help those in need, whether ourselves or those we love, within and outside the walls of Edelman. We have an important mandate and opportunity to raise the bar on how we earn the trust and respect of our clients and our people. For us this means setting aside dedicated time for self care.
Think about a three-legged stool.
Speaking of earning trust and the importance of action that drives trust, our people know that wellbeing is part of our DNA—our heritage. Our founders, Dan and Ruth Edelman were strong advocates for wellbeing. They often spoke about the three legs of a stool—work, exercise/wellbeing, and community. They said that if any leg became unbalanced, you would fall. Dan’s advice to aspiring colleagues (and a reminder to all of us) was to work hard, but not be a workaholic and be sure you have a balanced life.
Ruth Edelman dedicated much of her life to raising funds for mental health and helping to dispel its myths and stigmas. Today we continue her passion and that of Dan’s ensuring that at Edelman, we create an environment that helps our colleagues find their own balance of reaching their full personal, as well as professional potential.
Balance was something which Dan excelled at, and it is something we would like to help our colleagues aspire to achieve in their lives. So, on October 10, I look forward to taking time specific to my personal self-care. And since I am also a lucky person who can say I love my job and team, I admit that I am so looking forward to hearing stories from colleagues when we are back together, refreshed and recharged.
If you are taking time to observe Global Mental Health Day, how are you planning to spend the day? Whatever you do, I hope it gives you a moment to connect body, mind, and soul.
Soni Basi is Chief People Officer.