Why Margaret Smith Makes Well-being a Priority

The Senior Managing Director of Geographic Services and Business Operations on why open conversations about mental health are so important.

Accenture has made mental well-being a priority for some time. Why? Because our own research has shown that one in four of us will be affected by a mental health disorder at some point in our lives, and 92% of workers have been touched by mental health challenges in the United Kingdom. That’s why I’m happy to champion the mental health cause at Accenture to make sure our people are well, safe, and thriving.

It’s a subject that’s close to home. My family has a history of mental health challenges ranging from anxiety disorders, eating disorders, and bipolar disorder. It means I’ve learned to take the topic of mental health very seriously, starting with education and increasing my understanding of each of these challenges and different abilities. De-stressing and making sure we are all OK is a natural part of my day to day, alongside a regular exercise regime that helps us use better physical health as a path to tackling mental health issues.

At Accenture, we are breaking down the stigma around mental health by encouraging open, honest conversations on the subject for our people. Everyone can make a difference by joining the conversation, making their environment stigma-free, and getting familiar with the topic and resources available.

This year, I’m acting as co-chair on the Disability:IN Mental Wellness Committee. Disability:IN is a leading nonprofit resource for business disability inclusion worldwide. It has a network of corporations that serve as the collective voice to effect change for people with disabilities in business. I’m proud to be part of this interactive forum that’s bringing together national and global business leaders to learn best practices related to addressing mental wellness in the workplace.

These kinds of activities help me reinforce our commitment and make progress in our own organization around mental health and wellness. Here are just some of the ways Accenture is recognizing these issues and helping our workforce today:

We’re accelerating a culture of equality where it is OK — and encouraged — for our people to talk about their mental well-being and get the support they need. For example, our Mental Health Ally network of nearly 8,000 trained individuals across all our operating countries, provides compassionate support to anyone who needs it and connects them to professional help.

Our people have access to resources and training to support them in their mental health and wellness journey so they can thrive professionally and personally. For example, we deliver innovative tools and resources such as Thriving Mind, to focus on negative stress and building brain resiliency; Thriving Together, to help build resilience and create belonging; and Mental Health Essentials, to learn how to have conversations on mental health and support someone in need. We also offer third-party tools like Calm, Wysa, and Virgin Pulse to help our people be their best personally and professionally. And we offer an Employee Assistance Program 24/7/365 to help our people deal with personal needs related to family or personal health issues.

We’re a leading voice on mental health and wellness. We encourage open, honest conversations to break down the stigma on the subject. For example, our partnerships with One Mind at Work, This Can Happen, MIND, and National Alliance on Mental Illness, help advance mental health and wellness for our people, clients and communities.

I’m right behind this initiative to support our people so that they are in the right frame of mind to perform at their best. And recently, Accenture held an event with our new Chief Health Officer, Dr. Tam Brownlee, involving our partners at Calm and Wysa to share stories from Accenture people around the world and dig deeper into today’s health and wellness issues.

Although mental health isn’t a one-and-done fix that can be resolved in a day, I encourage you to find out more. I wish you well on this day and every day. And above all, do look after yourself.

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