When it comes to mental health and wellbeing, we’ve come a long way in only a few years.
Pauline McNulty, executive programme director at Liberty Specialty Markets and one of the speakers at the Women In Insurance UK event, knows all about this.
Could you imagine 15 years ago a celebrity as big a Brad Pitt being able to talk openly about battling depression? What about J.K. Rowling, Harrison Ford, Stephen Fry or Lady Gaga?
They’ve all spoken about their experiences with mental ill health, something unheard of not so long ago.
There is still an enormous stigma attached to talking about mental health and wellbeing, but thanks to brave individuals coming forward to share their stories, it is lifting.
And work is one place where it can be incredibly difficult to talk about, especially if you’re needing time off because of mental ill health, either for yourself or to help care for someone.
McNulty is one of the people trying to break down this stigma, both internally in her role as an executive sponsor of diversity and inclusion at Liberty Specialty Markets, and externally as well.
“In terms of thinking about that broader agenda we’ve done a number of events to celebrate different aspects of diversity and work on building an inclusive culture,” McNulty explained about Liberty Specialty Markets.
“When we started and been developing on this journey, mental health was one of the things we identified as an area of focus. That’s where we supported the This Is Me campaign.”
This Is Me was an initiative started by the London Lord Mayor’s Office, focusing on improving mental health in the workplace.
It “provides employers with the tools to change cultures around mental health” and featured employees from partner organisations talking about their lived experiences with mental health on video.
McNulty was one of the people featured, talking about her story.
“I do have a personal story around mental health, so far as I have experienced times of stress and sort therapy for things that have gone on for me personally, and one of my older brothers experienced schizophrenia,” she explained.
The executive programme director said that after Liberty started doing the This Is Me Campaign, people at the organisation came back with very positive feedback on the focus on mental health.
“When we started to support that we got a positive reaction internally, saying that this was an area, mental health and wellbeing, that resonated with people,” McNulty explained.
“And this is one aspect of many, feeling that your unique perspective is accepted. And that we have to help that thrive. A lot of people said ‘I can associate with the fact that there is a stigma here and we all need to do more around that.’”
But while mental health does have a particular resonance with McNulty, she cares about all aspects of diversity.
“In terms of thinking about that broader agenda we’ve done a number of events to celebrate different aspects of diversity and work on building an inclusive culture,” she said.
McNulty is the face of diversity and inclusion at Liberty, and is extremely committed to all aspects of that.
“Mental health falls under is my role as executive sponsor for diversity and inclusion, which we take seriously here at Liberty Specialty Markets. My role as executive sponsor was firstly start the conversation about diversity and inclusion and what that means.
“At the heart of our purpose and who we are is that we believe that everyone has a unique perspective, and we want to create an environment where every unique perspective can thrive. We use that for business benefit but also our people benefit from that environment.”