Meet our Well-being Champions

Populus, part of Populus Group, which includes BrandCap and Populus Data Solutions, has an established team of Well-being Champions from across the Group, who are on a mission to improve well-being and tackle the stigma around mental health.

On Mental Health Awareness Week, we caught up with a few of our Well-being Champions.

Mark, Assistant Accountant, Populus

What’s it like being a Well-being Champion?

It feels good, it’s become a responsibility to care for everyone at the office as a friend and not just as a colleague. It’s great to feel part of something bigger.”

Is there a particular quote about mental health that resonates for you? What is this and why?

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

– Maya Angelou

Have you learnt anything new as a result of your involvement in the Well-being Champions group?

It doesn’t matter about how it appears on the outside, not one bit. Someone can be going through the worst circumstances, and you’d never know. It’s always best to be as nice and as accommodating to anybody regardless of their position or any other factors.

Chloe, Senior Research Executive, Populus

What do you think about workplace mental health generally?

I think that workplace mental health has a long way to go, but that things are changing and that the conversation is now firmly on the agenda for many businesses.

I would argue one of the biggest problems with tackling workplace mental health is stress. I think that we are often accustomed to trying to hide our mental health in the workplace, as sometimes people feel that ‘stress’ and ‘busyness’ are badges of success or indicators of talent, so fail to deal with it when it becomes a more serious problem.

However, I think we are making real progress and mental health problems are on their way to be recognized and treated by the workplace just as any physical illness would.

What’s the biggest challenge ahead in terms of tackling poor mental health in the workplace?

Recognising mental health issues in the same way as physical illness. I think many people would be more concerned about taking a sick day or flagging to a line manager a mental health condition or particular flare-up than a physical problem, and tackling this stigma could help people and employers feel empowered to manage mental health better in the context of the workplace.

Victoria, Associate Director, BrandCap

BrandCap, part of the Populus Group which includes Populus and Populus Data Solutions, is a consultancy that uses brand to drive business performance.

The Well-being initiative is Group-wide.

What inspired you to be a Well-being Champion?

We spend so much of our time at work, and often see our colleagues for more hours a week than we see friends – which means we are well placed to spot any behavioural or personality changes, and to help and support them.

Becoming a Well-being Champion has allowed me to become Mental Health First Aid qualified, as well as playing my part in shifting attitudes to develop a much more open culture in the workplace.

I’m really proud of working somewhere that places such importance on this, and is leading the way in getting people talking and thinking about their mental health.

How do you look after your own mental health?

I’m a passionate [but sadly not talented] tennis and squash player which is a brilliant endorphin hit, and whenever I’ve had a stressful day you’ll find me painting or playing the piano.

Maddie, Group Marketing Manager, Populus

What have you learnt as a result of being a Well-being Champion?

We are all so individual; what is a mild irritation for one person might be catastrophic for another, and both of those responses are equally valid. A one-size fits all approach to mental health and well-being isn’t going to cut it. And also, giving just a few minutes of your time can make a big difference – whether it’s a text, an email, a quick coffee. You don’t have to be an expert in anything, your time is priceless.

Is there a particular spokesperson on mental health that you admire?

Ruby Wax and Stephen Fry are the famous pioneers of speaking publicly about mental health, especially their own struggles, back when it was very new still to the public forum. These days I’d say Matt Haig and Professor Green are doing important work in this space. When the people we admire speak out, we feel safer to do so ourselves. It’s the same in workplaces. It’s a snowball effect.