This May, to celebrate National Mental Health Awareness Week we spoke with Amy Stanbridge, the Group’s General Counsel & Company Secretary, about the importance of discussing mental health and the steps we are taking at Henry Boot to initiate discussions and offer assistance to those who require it. 


"We know that over the past few years in particular, many things have conspired to make our lives more difficult – and whilst this has been really challenging, one good thing that I think has come out of it is that people are starting to feel that they can be more open about the struggles they have had with mental health. We’ve always known that our industry can be challenging from a mental health perspective, and now with a massive range of additional help that we can give people, it is time to show we really mean business when it comes to breaking down those barriers that may have left people struggling in silence.


I chose to be the ambassador for this campaign not only because mental health challenges have impacted me personally but also because I have seen how they impact those around me – at work and in my personal life – and awareness about the signs of mental health issues, as well as practical tips and support, can feel like a real lifesaver.


It is more important now than ever before to try and break down the stigma that can surround mental health, because if you have watched the below video that we shared at the start of the month, you may have seen one unifying theme – TALK. If this campaign helps people to be more open, and to reach out for support, they are more likely to be able to get through those things that may currently be hanging over them as a dark (and yet invisible) cloud.


I have certainly found that my own depression and anxiety, whilst it felt almost debilitating at the time, has helped me to understand my own resilience, but also the empathy needed to open up conversations with people around me and within my team. It is about finding those ways to start discussions and to show people that you notice when they are not quite themselves. Sometimes giving people permission to be candid and showing that you care can be all you need to help someone to start to open up.


My own (very well-worn) tip for those who feel they may be struggling with mental health issues is to “be kind to yourself”. You can be your own worst enemy when it comes to recognising what is going on with yourself, and falling into well-trodden patterns of thought around how you should deal with certain things – but often you can be telling yourself the harshest or most unhelpful stories about how you are doing or what others think about you. By opening up to others and also by challenging yourself to think differently about what your assumptions are, this can be an important step in getting some perspective and calming down your mind. I know this won’t be applicable to everyone – but it’s something I try and remind myself of a lot!


I am also pleased to inform everyone that Henry Boot has signed the Mental Health at Work Commitment. This public commitment (facilitated by Mind and other mental health specialists) is a pledge to undertake action to improve and support the mental health of our people and I am proud to see this commitment from the business.

We all have a role to play in supporting our own and our colleagues mental health.


Thank you to everyone who has contributed to our campaign and creating an open culture around mental health across Henry Boot."