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Support for Mental Health

As a kick-off to this year's Mental Health Awareness week, Niki and I were delighted to be invited to attend the Mental Health Support Launch event at the RIBA on Monday evening. A wonderful and most timely initiative by the RIBA and the Architects Benevolent Society to provide support for those in the profession and associated careers in times of stress, anxiety and depression – or indeed any kind of mental health issue.

We were also quietly proud that we seemed a little ahead of the curve in our attention to this significant subject. Our breakfast seminar in November 2016 and our lunchtime seminar in April of this year both dwelled on this matter, focussing on mental and emotional health in creative companies. We speculated as to whether there is a propensity for those who work in the creative sector to suffer from mental health issues, but soon realised that there is insufficient research to be sure.

Whatever the case, EvolutionHR's workshop on 27 April was well attended and covered a number of matters that were echoed on Monday evening. We were pleased to have Paul Spencer from Mind with us to talk about the services that Mind offers to both employees and employers, as well as some simple but effective practices that Mind themselves use internally to support a working environment that promotes positive mental health.

Again, on Monday evening, someone raised the issue of whether the working office space itself could help to promote positive mental health, and an initiative called 'Design for the Mind' was mentioned. At EvolutionHR's workshop in April, we were delighted to host Claudia Poma and Zsuzsa Nagy from Gensler who presented their research on Psychological Wellbeing in the Workplace. This is an ongoing initiative that Gensler are involved in in conjunction with the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design amongst other associates. This focusses on the impact of the workplace itself on emotional wellbeing and is developing tools to assist designers to create workplaces that have a positive effect on the mental health of its users.

It is wonderful that so many new initiatives are springing up to help raise the profile of and find practical solutions to and support for this major issue. The more the better! We are pleased to be part of it.