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Formerly known as BAME Recruitment

24 Nov 2023

Diversity Lens - Issue 201

Diversity Lens in collaboration with
NGOZI CADMUS

Psychotherapist, social worker, friend of Diversity Lens
 

 

I’m Ngozi 👋 Psychotherapist, Social Worker, and CEO of Happiworkers. Were you aware that workplace mental health is imposing a staggering cost of 45 billion pounds on the economy? And that it accounts for the loss of approximately 12 billion working days annually?
 
We dedicate most of our working days, even our lives, to employers who often overlook the fact that we can no longer segregate our personal lives from our professional ones. This challenge has become even more prominent with the rise of remote and hybrid work, making the separation of personal and professional realms nearly impossible.
 
This predicament gives rise to several critical issues which I wish to discuss in my takeover of Diversity Lens this week.

 

QUICK FIRE NEWS 🧨

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🪧 Starbucks workers hold largest strike in company history
✂️ Welfare cuts worth billions planned by ministers
🤨 Disabled people told to work from home or lose benefits

 

LET'S GET INTO IT 🤓

1 in 6 experience mental health challenges at work 🤡

The erosion of boundaries between work and personal gives rise to a number of phenomena that have a negative business impact. These include:

  • Presenteeism: Employees attending work despite being unwell or experiencing poor mental health

  • Absenteeism: Absence from work due to mental health conditions

  • Retention: The costs associated with replacing staff who leave their jobs for mental health-related reasons

Though, of course, the most severe impact is felt by the employee.
In light of the pandemic, a significant 81% of organisations have intensified their commitment to employee mental health. Despite these efforts, 1 in 3 workers feel that the mental health support at their workplace falls short of expectations.

While it’s generally accepted and expected for employees to take necessary time off for physical ailments or injuries, it’s perhaps surprising to learn that, on average, individuals tend to take more days off to address mental health concerns, such as stress, depression, or anxiety, than for any other reason.

Source (top) Source (bottom)

 

 

Rishi Sunak scraps 🚮 mental health reforms

What reforms?
The King's Speech, which outlined the legislative agenda, notably omitted the promised Mental Health Bill, originally promised back in June 2022 to reform the outdated Mental Health Act of 1983. These reforms aimed to address pressing issues such as the unwarranted detention of individuals with autism in mental hospitals and the disproportionate detentions of Black individuals.

What's the significance of scrapping reforms?
At a time when concerns about unsafe care are being brought to light, it is unfathomable that these reforms were deprioritised, especially considering that 50,000 individuals were held under the outdated Mental Health Act just last year. Advocacy groups assert that scrapping the reform bill shatters trust and disregards individuals' rights and dignity. 
 
As an Approved Mental Health professional tasked with making decisions based on two medical recommendations, the Mental Health Act is a piece of legislation that needs to catch up to the 21st century. The notable absence of any mention of it in the King's Speech seems like a concerning regression in terms of priority. How can we, as a nation, claim to prioritise mental health when the foundational legislation has remained unchanged for nearly two decades?

 

Employers must proactively recognise and address the prevalence and impact of mental health challenges in the workplace. By fostering an environment that supports mental well-being, businesses contribute positively to their employees' lives and enhance the organisation's overall productivity and economic stability.
 
I have witnessed the transition from a lacklustre response to the mental health needs of a workforce to the mobilising efforts companies now undertake to provide comprehensive mental health support. That's precisely why I founded Happiworkers - a culturally sensitive, holistic, and personalised tech solution designed to democratise all employees' mental health access. We are uniquely positioned to address the interlocking issues of staff performance, development, and employee well-being.

 

Complex barriers face black women in research 🔬

What barriers? 
There is a significant underrepresentation of black academics in the UK, particularly at senior levels. Surprisingly, there is limited research into the exclusion of black academics despite extensive studies on the underrepresentation of women.
Black women in academia face unique barriers, including a lack of senior mentors, unsuitable supervision, emotional labour, and financial challenges.

                

Source (left) Source (right)

What can we do?

Support groups like the Black Researchers' Forum offer a sense of community and actively promote black scholarship, yet broader cultural changes within academia are still imperative. Even with pledges to decolonise curriculums, genuine transformation requires a deep examination of entrenched cultural norms and power dynamics that sustain this racial imbalance at senior levels.

Structural change is urgently needed to diversify academia, ensure supervisors are versed in black scholarship and examine embedded power dynamics. Institutions must make space for black voices and perspectives that enrich research. With more black researchers, we gain invaluable new insights. But black academics should not have to overcome so many barriers alone. We all have a role in removing obstacles and fostering an inclusive academic culture.

 

THIS WEEK WE'RE LOVING ✨

📔 The Diverse Supplier Summit democratises access for diverse businesses to get corporate gigs
😘 Black women don’t owe anyone likability
🎤 A Jamaican rendition of Under the Blood
👣 My Founder Story

 

A huge thank you to Ngozi Cadmus for curating this issue of Diversity Lens ❤️ 
What did you think of this issue? Let us know!

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