World Mental Health Day
Why we invest in our people’s mental wellbeing
We caught up with Alexandria, who works in our Leadership & Culture (L&C) team, to discuss why mental wellbeing matters, how Deloitte Switzerland is investing in our people’s wellbeing and what we’re doing for World Mental Health Day (WMHD) 2022.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and the team.
My name is Alexandria and I work in the Leadership & Culture (L&C) team. I’m originally from the United States and moved to Zürich in late 2018 with my family to take advantage of traveling and to explore a new culture. What was supposed to be a 2-3 years “experience” has turned into a new home and a place we want to stay.
I started with Deloitte US in 2009 after graduating from university and joined the Technology Consulting practice; in 2014, I transferred internally to find a bit more stability and balance in my work life.
Once we moved abroad, I joined the L&C team in 2019 and grew into the Wellbeing Leader for Deloitte Switzerland. I've always been strongly passionate about employee wellbeing and how we care for our employees, especially given my client-facing background.
Deloitte has made great progress in caring for the wellbeing of our people and I’m happy to continue to drive that growth journey.
Why is Deloitte investing in our people’s wellbeing? What does WMHD mean for Deloitte?
We want to make an impact that matters for our clients, people and society. We simply cannot achieve this if our people feel unwell – physically or mentally. We want to promote a culture with a holistic approach to wellbeing by focusing on our whole selves. Brains are our number one asset and I’d love for us to get to a point where taking a mental health day is as “common” as taking a sick day for a cold or other physical ailment.
This is why we are celebrating WMHD; to continue to raise awareness, break the stigma on the topic, and encourage our people to take care of themselves, body and mind.
Did the pandemic affect Deloitte’s approach and understanding of mental health?
Mental health was part of our wellbeing focus before the pandemic however the pandemic definitely increased the need to provide even greater support.
One of the things that has changed – or increased in importance – is the message that if you don’t look after yourself, you can’t properly look after others.
We’re in an environment where we work in teams and it’s easy to get caught up in wanting to help those around you before taking care of yourself. However when dealing with mental health the primary responsibility is to be the best versions of ourselves, and with that we become better leaders and better equipped to be leaders for others.
What is Deloitte doing this year for World Mental Health Day?
We have a great programme this year! We are bringing in several mental health experts for webinars on sleep, nutrition, mindful movement, productivity/flow, the importance of unplugging to recharge and several other topics.
And for every person attending these events, Deloitte is donating to a charity providing mental health support within Switzerland.
How does Deloitte support wellbeing?
We are trying to make all of our wellbeing offerings as inclusive as possible and have switched to almost exclusively virtual formats so that everyone has the ability to participate regardless of their office location within Switzerland, whether they are working from home, at a client site or the office.
We have an extensive intranet page providing resources and support along the health-at-work spectrum: prevention, intervention & support and reintegration. We do focus a lot on helping employees before a health issue occurs with live trainings, self-learning, a Headspace subscription, and other benefits such as MyClubs.
Last year we launched an on-going live training offering, in partnership with HealthFirst. We offer regular sessions on mental health awareness that examine the employee health-at-work life cycle, the signs of mental ill health and what to do, as well as a specialized session for those in leadership roles on how to support mental health in teams. Both sessions have received great feedback and have been integrated into our regular training curriculum.
There is also a North South Europe (NSE) Centre of Excellence for wellbeing. I collaborate and align with them regularly. Additionally all member firms had to complete the global mental health baseline.
What would you say to someone struggling with their mental health?
What I would say first and foremost is: don’t keep it in – tell someone. Take a mental health day (or two or three - whatever is needed). The time you take and the help you get early on will result in a much quicker recovery than ignoring whatever is wrong.