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Trust issues: “They are all heroes, and we must ensure we continue to support them.”

GUEST COMMENT: Chris Brook-Carter, CEO, retailTRUST 21 years ago, the Mental Health Foundation launched Mental Health Awareness Week to encourage us to talk about mental health… View Article

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Trust issues: “They are all heroes, and we must ensure we continue to support them.”

GUEST COMMENT: Chris Brook-Carter, CEO, retailTRUST

21 years ago, the Mental Health Foundation launched Mental Health Awareness Week to encourage us to talk about mental health and to chip away at the stigma associated with it. This year’s week runs from 10-16 May. It’s never been more needed.

The last 12 months have been incredibly hard on all of us, at home and at work. Perkbox’s 2020 Workplace Stress Survey showed that just 1% of British adults ‘never’ experience workplace stress while those working in customer services (25%) are most likely to experience it on a daily basis.

Retail workers have been especially hard hit. retailTRUST delivered over 6,000 counselling sessions in the 12 months since lockdown (a rise of 144%) and, in the year to 7 April, paid out over £840,000 in financial aid to help people remain in their homes, feed their families or make essential hospital visits (163 per cent increase).

ASOS CEO Nick Beighton summed up the impact on our colleagues neatly: “The past year has been incredibly difficult for everyone, and as we’ve adapted to new ways of working, limited social interaction, and an unprecedented amount of time spent indoors, supporting mental health in the workplace has been more important than ever. The benefits of this go far beyond boosting productivity and company morale.”

Nick is one of the many British retail leaders uniting with us to spotlight workers’ wellbeing at our second Championing the Health of Retail free-to-attend virtual event on 10-11 May. Fellow speakers include former political aide and mental health advocate Alastair Campbell, Morrisons’ CEO David Potts, Seasalt’s Paul Hayes, John Lewis Partnership’s Jo Walmsley and Brewdog’s David McDowall.

The BRC’s CEO Helen Dickinson will also be joining us. “All in retail have been impacted by the pandemic,” she said, “from those in the frontline helping to feed a nation, to those working in distribution centres and logistics ensuring we can get our deliveries. Many have faced challenges of being bounced from open to closed and back, bringing uncertainty to their lives and livelihoods.

“They are all heroes, and we must ensure we continue to support them, and each other, as we emerge from the crisis. UK retail will continue to be world-leading, but only thanks to the indomitable efforts of everyone who is part of our industry.”

I do hope you’ll join us on 10-11 May for Championing the Health of Retail. It’s free to attend. Simply sign up at retailtrust.org.uk/forthefour. Retail workers who need to access retailTRUST support can contact the free and confidential wellbeing helpline on 0808 801 0808.

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