Mental Health in Lockdown – Panel Event with Jon Manning

Date: 02 Feb 2021

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The principles businesses can build into their organisation to improve employee mental health.


Even before the pandemic, mental health related absence was the most common cause of long-term sickness in UK workplaces – costing the country £1.4 billion a year.* Since March 2020, however, the impact of COVID-19 on employees' mental health has become a growing area of concern.

For the second time since the start of the pandemic, Milton Keynes Business Leaders Partnership (MKBLP) has held an online event dedicated to the subject of mental health.

Last week’s virtual panel event featured three experts on the subject. Leading the discussion, and joining MKBLP for a second time, was Jon Manning, CEO of Arthur Ellis: Mental Health Support, along with award-winning mental health keynote speaker Daryl Woodhouse, and Group Director TXM Group and Executive Coach, Gary Lincoln.

Revealing their own personal mental health journeys, the panellists led the ‘Mental Health in Lockdown’ discussion, and highlighted the myriad of issues which both employers and employees may currently be facing.

Sharing strategies and principles to help mitigate mental health issues and create stronger teams, the panellists highlighted the importance of health and wellbeing, with regular exercise, ‘even a 10 minute walk,’ ranked highly.

Particular focus was also placed on business leaders to ensure that they too looked after themselves, putting them in a good place to inspire employees.

“Good mental health practices contributes to fuelling a better head space, it enables the innovation to flow into the workplace and positively impacts how we operate as leaders. It can create transformational results.” Commented Daryl.

With mental health issues leading to many difficulties in the workplace, ranging from poor performance and productivity to low morale and retention rates, Gary stressed the importance of understanding the drivers of each individual’s own mental health challenges. Jon then highlighted how business leaders can improve the emotional intelligence of their organisation, with recovery tools built around five key principles, moving, helping others, focusing, learning new skills and, communication.

“There are many different ways to implement the principles within an organisation.” Commented Jon. “Each is worth 20%, however communication is key. We see a lot of texting services coming through but it’s important that people can see each other, even if that’s through video calls. 93% of communication is non-verbal – employees need to see that their employer is emotionally available to them.”

Managers can’t just signpost employees they need to know how to work the key principles into their daily routines.

“Business leaders need to nurture their employees and inject an element of fun into the day. I know one team who perform the New Zealand Haka over zoom together! Remember that people who are happy are 12% more productive.” Commented Gary.