Why Mental Health Matters HR Conference
I was delighted to attend the inaugural conference at Ortus, a new learning centre adjacent to the Institute of Psychiatry, Maudsley Hospital and King’s College London, in Camberwell, South London, on January 15th.
The theme of the conference was ‘Why Mental Health Matters’; and if environment influences wellbeing (which we know it does) then the beautiful new Ortus building, opened in 2013, which houses Maudsley Learning and offers event space specially designed for learning experiences, is definitely a first class example of form and function.
Specially designed with sustainability and environmental considerations in mind, the building is spacious, light, and airy and has the versatility to suit many types of events and experiences, from screening films to intimate workshops to the larger scale conferences in which I took part.
The local community is engaged and welcomed to cultural events, and catered for with an attractive café, priding itself on great coffee, and the evidence was that it is well-used by residents, workers and families. With the delicious catering, plus a friendly and efficient staff, this is a place I would definitely recommend for hosting and attending events.
The quality of the conference’s content was also highly engaging; the expert speakers and facilitators offered a range of topics delivered in varied formats to keep our interest. (I was also delighted that we were seated ‘cabaret style’ at generous round tables, so no juggling writing materials and conference information on our laps!)
The information offered was comprehensive and gave HR practitioners and others concerned with wellbeing at work and mental health in the workplace many insights into how to identify those who are at risk, how to manage mental health and ill-health at work, how to provide environments and conditions which reduce the risks associated with developing problems, and much more.
We learned of innovative projects such as ‘Juice’ at The University of Sheffield from Andrew Dodman and Gary Butterfield, experienced Happiness and Stress Management workshops, and gained valuable knowledge about current practices and research results from Ben Willmott, Head of Public Policy at the CIPD, Professor Stephen Bevan, Director, Centre for Workforce Effectiveness, The Work Foundation, and Dr Max Henderson, Senior Lecturer in Epidemiological & Occupational Psychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London.
Dr Amy C. Iversen, Consultant Liaison Psychiatrist, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation, delivered a workshop on Mental Health Matters: The Management of Common Mental Disorders in the Workplace, and other workshops covered Happiness at Work, from Sherry Clark and Miriam Mica, and The Organisational Management of Traumatic Events from Roy Scott MBE.
With case study sessions from Sheffield University, Health & Wellbeing UK, and Joanna Ryan from Transport for London, and a panel to discuss the benefits and pitfalls of wellbeing as a performance measure, (the consensus seemed to be that there are more pitfalls than benefits) we had a very full and rewarding day, and I certainly came away with many ideas and thought provoking possibilities to consider.
We were supremely well cared for during the entire day, with lovely food, and the event was rounded off by a networking and drinks reception, where once again the quality of Ortus shone through in the ambience of the space and the top class service we enjoyed.
Ortus is the home of Maudsley Learning, headed by Managing Director Genevieve Glover, the team aims ‘to provide world class and accessible learning on mental health and wellbeing’.
‘Ortus’ is a Latin word meaning origin; heritage; being; source; rise.
You can find out more about Ortus & Maudsley Learning at their website www.maudsleylearning.com