In 2014, Nestlé started to talk about mental health at all levels, which was a big cultural and behavioural change for a business that has been around since 1866. Today, dealing with mental health in the workplace is a priority for Nestlé and, in 2019, we signed up to the ‘Time to Change’ employer pledge. Time to Change is led by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, and the pledge is a public commitment to change the way we think and act about mental health in the workplace. Nestlé in the UK & Ireland also supports Mind as our official corporate charity.
Little did we know that in March 2020 we would be confronted by a global pandemic, heightening the levels of poor mental health for many people. Fortunately, we were well on the way to thinking differently about mental health. We now have over 200 Mental Health First Aiders, and this is growing all the time, who are trained individuals acting as a first point of contact for those that need mental health support in the workplace, accredited by Mental Health First Aid England. We launched our Employee Assistance Programme in 2018 and last year it really came into its own, as our employees and their families had somewhere to turn if they were feeling overwhelmed and needed support.
Before and throughout the pandemic, we have also hosted and continue to host virtual workshops and events to support our employees with mental wellbeing - from meditation sessions, to moving our gym sessions with Nuffield Health to online training sessions, and internal and external activities promoting getting active in nature. More recently we launched Pleaz - a web-based platform that gives all our employees access to more than 80 video-guided breaks, called Pleazers.
I passionately encourage the mental health conversation and I welcome people to join me in taking time to appreciate our natural surroundings – whether that means a dog walk or a yoga session in the park, a cycle ride with the family or just taking time to look around at your surroundings and where you can be thankful - because connecting with nature and being mindful is how we can protect our mental health.
June Clark, Health & Wellness Manager at Nestlé UK & Ireland