How the BBC takes workplace wellbeing seriously all year round

Valerie Hughes-D’Aeth
Valerie Hughes-D’Aeth

Chief HR Officer, BBC

Over the course of this week, the BBC’s Mental Health Season has brought together a range of content related to mental health and wellbeing, with people we all recognise telling personal stories – on TV, radio and online – about their own mental health.

This demonstrates the BBC’s ongoing commitment to shining a light on how mental health issues affect people and society today, and how the BBC is committed to looking after the wellbeing of its staff.

We take wellbeing seriously within the BBC all year round, not just at times when the national conversation turns to mental health. But what better time to remind our staff about the wide range of mental health and wellbeing support services they can access in our workplace?

Our approach to mental health and wellbeing includes taking a holistic view of the needs of our staff

The BBC’s ambition is to be the most creative organisation in the world and open to everyone, and we know that the wellbeing of our staff, the diversity of our workforce and the culture we create are central to this ambition. Our approach to mental health and wellbeing includes taking a holistic view of the needs of our staff, offering services that are focused on prevention, resilience and support.

Over 900 Mental Health First Aiders​Implementing Mental Health First Aiders: a guide for employers PDF The only effective, sustainable approach to employee wellbeing involves the whole organisation. This guide explains how to recruit, train, and assess your Mental Health First Aiders.Free By: Mental Health First Aid England View resource across the BBC are trained and ready to provide initial advice and signposting to anyone who needs help with a mental health issue. We also hold events throughout the year that offer a chance for staff to share and learn tips about and wellness. Other examples of the support we offer include occupational health​Occupational health: the value proposition PDF Only a minority of the UK workforce can access a comprehensive occupational health service. This guide clearly lays out the business case for an occupational health strategy.Free By: The Society of Occupational Medicine View resource, online health assessments and courses for staff to develop their resilience skills at work. Additionally, a number of specialist services are provided to meet the demands of a 24/7 global media organisation, such as support for people whose work takes them out into the field.

I've been struck by the willingness of people to tell their stories as a way of helping others

One of the ways we are sharing this information is through the BBC’s internal ‘Open Up’ campaign, which encourages people to start a conversation about mental health at work, because we know that talking can help. I’ve been struck by the willingness of people at the BBC to tell their stories as a way of helping others, whether that’s by sharing a personal experience of living with depression or offering advice on how to reach out to a colleague who may need it. I hope more of us can follow their lead and build on this spirit of openness.

As an employer and Public Service Broadcaster, highlighting issues that affect our employees and audiences is a vital part of our remit, and with an estimated one in six people having experienced a common mental health problem in the last week, looking after our mental health and wellbeing is so important. We are working alongside a wide range of organisations with an interest in mental health to share coping strategies and practical advice, and to encourage people to seek help if they need to. With content designed to reach a varied audience and a wide range of support available for our staff, we know that these programmes and services really do make a difference.

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