World Mental Health Day is celebrated on the 10th October every year. We reached out to two of our offices to find out what they had planned for the day. Carmelina Dilorenzo (Reception, London) and Madeline Valera (Office Manager, Boston) tell us their plans, as well as what ongoing mental health support there is for colleagues on both sides of the pond.
Hi Carmelina and Madeline, thanks so much for talking to us today. Could you tell us a little about yourselves to start?
Carmelina: Sure! I’m Carmelina, I’m from the London office. I’ve been at Simon-Kucher for over four years now. My goal is to make the London office a fun place to work. So, I love organizing activities and events for colleagues to wind down, bond, and have fun!
Madeline: Hi! My name is Madeline, I joined Simon-Kucher in January this year. My goal is to make the Boston office a welcoming, positive, and productive work environment where everyone feels excited to come in.
What did you do for Mental Health Day?
Carmelina: Oh, all sorts! Our office was invaded with wellbeing and selfcare activities.
A Puppy Wellbeing Team from Puppy Yoga London, took over one of our biggest meeting rooms. Colleagues played with puppies for 20 minutes. There were around six colleagues and eight to 10 puppies per session. I thought this was important because animals are known to reduce stress and anxiety. And for the puppies it’s a great opportunity to become well-socialized, friendly, outgoing dogs.
Even the CEO’s office was transformed, as his and several other meeting rooms and partner offices were turned into massage parlors. Colleagues could relax, enjoying a 15-minute massage session.
Finally, our lunch benches were covered in Greek food, and we had a wellbeing update from one of our board members, Dimitris Hiotis, with a selection of cookies.
Outside of the office, we organized boxing and spin classes at the local gym for colleagues to join if they wanted to. So, hopefully, there was something for everyone.
Madeline: We also had 15-minute massage sessions in the office. It was such a success! Colleagues were so relaxed.
But we’re doing things throughout the month for Mental Health Day. For example, we’re holding weekly raffles, offering wellbeing/self-care related gift certificates. And we’ll be showing mental health tips on the TVs in the office.
On top of that, at Simon-Kucher we all get a free membership to the meditation app Headspace, so on the 25th October we’ll host a guided meditation session in the office.
Has your office done something like this before?
Carmelina: Yeah, last year we had a yoga instructor come to the office. They held yoga and meditation sessions, we also provided free breakfast and lunch for colleagues. What sort of activities we organize may change, but we have a wellness update every year.
Are you doing any volunteering or raising money for a cause?
Carmelina: Yes! Because our consultants are currently working on a pro bono project for The Samaritans charity, we’ve decided to raise money for them. The goal of the charity is to prevent suicide and raise awareness.
Every 10 seconds someone calls The Samaritans in the UK for help. They have a 24/7 helpline, not only to help people in crisis, but also take action to prevent the crisis. We hope the money we raise will help them continue supporting people in need.
Aside from these events, do you know of any ongoing mental health support in your office?
Carmelina: Some colleagues in the office have been trained to be mental health aiders. The training covered how to respond or speak to someone who is struggling. They are that first point of contact for everyone in the office.
Madeline: At the moment, I think our most successful ongoing support is our Wellness Room. We’ve actually just revamped it! It’s a space for nursing mothers and for people in need of a health break.
We’ve put in new comfortable furnishings and calming decorations. There’s a fridge, stress balls, a heated massage chair, and an Alexa Echo linked to music apps and Headspace. It also has books and several pamphlets detailing local mental health resources.
In addition, we also have a games room where colleagues can break away, wind down, and connect with each other.
Carmelina, Madeline, thanks so much joining us today!