On Monday 27 November, Minds@Work, The Dragon Cafe, Mind, Thrive London, Business in the Community, Business Healthy, and the City Mental Health Alliance  joined forces to host a day of free talks and workshops celebrating mental health in London, a city where over 2 million people experience some level of poor mental health every year. 

As part of the Thrive in the City programme, which includes mental first aid workshops, yoga, and talks offering practical advice for supporting mental health in the workplace, welldoing.org hosted a panel discussion in Southwark about mental health among founders and employees of small to medium-sized businesses. Founder Louise Chunn was joined by two of our welldoing.org London-based therapists Ajay Khandelwal and Helen MayorAjay often works with individuals and organisations who experience serious workplace difficulties; Helen has been involved with tech startups and the media before training as a psychotherapist. 

The conversation was very much influenced by the audience which came from a variety of backgrounds: some were self-employed, others worked for small businesses, and also the HR director from a business with several hundred employees. Ajay had come equipped with tubs of Play-doh and everyone fashioned shapes of their workplace while we discussed everything from burnout to bullying. Helen was a fan of getting her clients to try self-care such as yoga and meditation. One member of the audience told of getting her workforce, individually, out for a walk and talk rather than staying cemented to their desks. Two men spoke about the difficulty in finding a discrete and sympathetic ear when work pressures proved too stressful; one freelance worker believed she protected her mental health by building up a network of other freelances to whom she can turn to for support.

There are 80 events across 18 venues today, featuring the collaboration of 75 practitioners and 20 City organisations. Further details thriveinthecity.co.uk