PKF International supports World Mental Health Day
07 Oct 2020
PKF International and our member firms across the globe are proud to support World Mental Health Day on 10 October.
The theme for this year is ‘mental health for all, greater investment – greater access’. It’s an interesting choice of words, which will mean different things to different people.
For me, as CEO of an international professional services network, it makes me think about how supportive our member firms have been, and will continue to be, of their clients and all the communities and stakeholders that they impact upon – as well as what more we all need to do.
The world has been turned upside down this year, hitting both economies and societies. We’ve seen confusion, fear and loneliness, and working and social patterns have changed immeasurably.
Our accountancy and professional services firms are built around supporting their clients, and lockdowns around the world earlier this year saw our member firms providing emergency support to their clients from both a technical and personal perspective.
But those firms needed to support their own people as well. A huge effort was made to help them work away from the office environment while ensuring that they were kept physically safe. Mental health is not a separate issue: it is integral to a healthy and productive working world.
Some of this support has understandably been reactive. In extreme times, I like to think that everyone within the network has stepped up to do what’s required.
But there are initiatives that have been put in place that will continue beyond this pandemic, certainly if some of the changes made in the way we work and collaborate are permanent. For example, PKF Littlejohn has introduced weekly yoga sessions and mental health awareness training for the team. PKF Bredin McCormack Rewcastle has set out key questions for people to reflect upon, plus a phone number if they need help. Virtual medical camps are being set up for the whole East Africa Region where medical experts speak to staff about mental health, and we see a growing number of firms implementing mental health first-aiders.
Mental health doesn’t discriminate. We can all suffer mental ill-health. The drivers may be different, but we are all vulnerable. So, when I think about ‘mental health for all’, ‘investment’ and ‘access’, I think about our people reaching out to ask their clients ‘how are you?’ and ‘what can we do to help?’.
And I would hope to see those questions asked of our own people as well. We must look after those we work for and those we work with.
Finally, we must feel empowered to care about our own mental health, too. To say that we’re ‘not OK’, ‘I’m unhappy’ or ‘I need help’ takes strength and bravery.
As an international organisation, we must take time for individuals and their personal circumstances – now, it’s more important than ever.
Theo Vermaak, PKF International CEO
#TeamPKF #WorldMentalHealthDay #mentalhealth
World Mental Health Day (WMHD) is on Saturday 10 October