Cultural change, and smashing outdated stigma, isn’t quick or easy. But, when you combine knowledge with passion among colleagues, anything is possible.
Anthony Lockyer is no stranger to challenges. His day job – Underwriting Auditor at Legal & General – is busy enough, but is nothing compared to what he has previously overcome in his personal life.
“When I was young, I was in a coma,” says Anthony. “My parents had been told that I’d likely not be able to walk or see again. Since then, I’ve graduated university with degrees – including my post-grad – and I’m now working at a company that has such a great reputation. I also really got into running and so far have completed 17 marathons.”
Having conquered various personal and professional goals, Anthony approaches mental health with the same passion and drive.
“Mental health is still misunderstood today,” he says. “I want to encourage people to talk about it more and to recognise that it’s something we all have.”
Spotlight on: Legal & General
When not carrying out Underwriting Auditor duties for Legal & General, Anthony is advocating for mental health and wellbeing within the organisation.
After seeing a Mental Health First Aider course advertised on the company intranet, Anthony knew he wanted to get involved.
“About 14 of us did the course,” he says, “and afterward, I went on to form a Mental Health First Aider team in our Cardiff location – so that we could stay aligned, ensure that we are adhering to the same principles, and support each other with our activities and initiatives”.
Today, Anthony is co-ordinator of a group that’s grown to 40 people. “I also meet regularly with co-ordinators from other locations, to discuss how we can uphold what we are already doing and talk about what’s in store for the future”, he says.
As the group’s grown, so has the reach of Anthony’s work. Having begun championing mental health at Legal & General’s Cardiff office, he now speaks to international offices too. “It’s all about taking the message wider and wider”, he explains.
Anthony also encourages his colleagues to sign up for, and to use, Unmind: “I’ll join those calls and discuss Unmind’s features, from Series to Tools and even Check-In. I want people to know how they can benefit from it, and this generally works very well. I've been told, by many, that they’ve gone on to sign up to Unmind after we’ve spoken.”
Breaking the stigma
Anthony’s main objective is to break the stigma that, even now, still surrounds mental health. The first step? Knowledge.
“I strongly recommend Unmind’s Mental Health Foundations Training,” he says. “There’s still so much uncertainty surrounding mental health, and I really believe that this training helps to improve that.”
Whether it's helping people recognise when someone is showing signs of poor mental health, or equipping people with the skills needed to talk with others about mental health, Anthony strongly advocates for this training.
“It doesn’t just help us to have the conversation,” he says, “but it helps us understand how we can support people further, after that initial conversation.”
Champion insights: What Anthony has learned, in his own words
There’s no opportunity without ‘U’
“It’s truly up to all of us to get involved in order to break the stigma around mental health. We all have our own part to play.”
Big things take time
“Our initiative started out small, but has really grown over time. I’m so proud to have played a role in developing this to where we are today. It’s been a real achievement to get business line managers involved in these conversations, and having them help us build on the support we can give across the organisation.”
What you do today can make a difference tomorrow
“I feel good about what I do at the end of the day. That’s what really counts. If I can say ‘What I did today might make a difference tomorrow’, then I genuinely feel good about that.”
Like this post? Check out the last instalment – ‘Newsletters and nattering to normalise mental health, with Yorkshire Building Society’ – here.
Want to learn more about how wellbeing champions can help shift the culture in your organisation? Get in touch today.