#MentalHealthAwarenessWeek: Vanguard shines spotlight on importance of Mental Health Awareness

by | May 10, 2022

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This article is featured as part of our week-long series looking at awareness and practical advice to support the Mental Health of those working across the financial services sector.

The importance of mental health has never been greater – whether it is the strength to cope with personal challenges, the compassion to recognise the struggles of those around us, or the ability to admit we can all be vulnerable and may need help. This year’s theme of loneliness for Mental Health Awareness Week resonates strongly with Vanguard. We recognise that loneliness can be a normal part of life which can eat away at our sense of belonging, particularly during the pandemic which reminded us of our need for one another, as close connections were disrupted. Additionally, as our business and headcount have grown significantly during the pandemic, many colleagues have joined remotely over the past couple of years and may not feel as connected to their teams as other longer standing co-workers. Our connection to other people is fundamental to protecting and enhancing our mental health, and there are many subtle ways in which loneliness can manifest itself. For example, it’s important to realise we don’t need to be physically alone to feel lonely. A social individual can feel emotionally isolated. Situational loneliness, as the name implies, may set in as a result of mutable circumstances, while chronic loneliness can become a way of life that is hard to escape. Equally important is addressing the stigma some people feel around loneliness – some may feel ashamed to admit they feel lonely despite the fact that most people experience it at some time in their lives. In other words, it can be ok to feel lonely, but is important to recognise. Such challenges can affect anyone, regardless of gender, race, age, nationality, sexual orientation, job role or level. That’s why this year, Vanguard Europe is shining a spotlight on loneliness and broader mental health awareness. We hosted a fireside chat with senior leaders to openly share how loneliness manifests itself, and as an opportunity to ask important questions about how we can reduce loneliness in the workplace and our personal lives. Our employees have also shared their personal stories of why they wear a green ribbon – the international symbol for mental health awareness – to advocate for mental health. You can find a video of these stories on the Vanguard UK and Europe LinkedIn page here! These initiatives at Vanguard have been promoted by the company’s Mental Health Network, which has leveraged the UK Mental Health Foundation’s initiatives by marking several national calendar events including Stress Awareness Month, Mental Health Awareness Week, and Suicide Prevention Day. The network was established in 2018 from an idea by two employees with a shared passion for mental health, a desire to normalise the conversation around the topic, and a determination to remove the stigma associated with it. Since then, the network has grown to over 30 volunteers across multiple European locations. Its activities include communications around mental wellbeing tips, training sessions, panel discussions, and the promotion of dedicated support programmes and resources available to employees. The mission of the network is to reflect Vanguard’s core values of care and inclusion by raising awareness of mental health and fostering a supportive environment for our people.

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