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For the first of our ‘Views from the Summit’ series, Sanjay Jawa, the CFO of digital mental health platform Kooth, will be explaining more about what Kooth does, why mental health matters to him and what you can start doing to make a difference as a finance leader.

In this brand-new editorial series, we will be talking to some of the key speakers of the upcoming GENCFO live virtual Summit. We’re going to be asking the questions that matter, from their passions to their organisations’ goals.

Some of the questions will link to the GENCFO live Summit session that each industry expert will be speaking at – Sanjay will be talking at the ‘Lonely Leadership: how to avoid and fix burnout at the top’ session with Claire Cole, owner of Movement for Minds, and Sharon Critchlow, Director at Discover Your Bounce.

Let Sanjay tell you about his relationship with mental health and leadership, and you’ll see why he’s the perfect expert to be on the panel for our session on burnout.

What makes you so passionate about mental health?

The cost of mental health is expected to rise to $6 trillion globally by 2030, up from $2.5 trillion in 2010.

Mental health is a growing, global challenge – and the figures speak for themselves. 

Health (both mental and physical), the economy and employment are interconnected. More than 800,000 of UK workers suffered from work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2020/2021.  Poor mental health is estimated to cost UK employers between £33 billion and £42 billion per year. 

Added to this, the psychological impact of the pandemic is now starting to be laid bare, with 1.6 million waiting for specialised NHS mental health treatment and another 8 million who cannot get on the waiting list but would benefit from support. 

This is why Kooth exists – to ensure clinically and cost effective digital mental health support is accessible to all, on any internet-connected device, tailored to an individual’s specific needs.

What is your role at Kooth?

At Kooth, I am the Chief Financial Officer. I have responsibility for the financial and legal operations of the firm. 

As a public company, this includes regular and accurate reporting of our financial position and prospects to investors, using financial analysis to prioritise, support and challenge decision making at a Board level.

In addition, ensuring we get the basics right – paying staff on time, data protection, contract management and a long list of other tasks!

Can you tell us more about Kooth?

Kooth is the UK’s leading digital mental health platform. It provides a welcoming place for children and young people, and adults to seek non-judgemental professional mental health support.

Our Kooth.com service for children and young people, and Qwell.io service for adults, are commissioned by the NHS. 

As a trusted partner, Kooth works alongside existing NHS services, providing a safe and confidential space for accessing therapeutic activities and content, a peer support community, and live text chat and messaging with Kooth’s team of professional, clinical practitioners. 

Once registered, Kooth.com can be accessed via any internet-connected device such as a laptop, smartphone or tablet. The service is free and anonymous, with no waiting list or thresholds to qualify for support. 

GENCFO live

Kooth Work is our service for businesses focused on supporting their workforce by creating a mentally healthy workplace. This includes Kooth Work’s innovative Flourish Mental Health Check- a benchmark tool that, unlike others, is based on the ‘whole self’. It recognises that home life and past experiences play an important part in people’s wellbeing at work. 

The anonymous insights garnered from the Flourish Mental Health Check help businesses to identify priority issues, ensuring that they invest in the right initiatives, as well as developing and implementing new policies, practises, and support programmes, that meet the needs of all their workforce. This aids in the creation of a mentally healthy workplace where everyone can flourish, and no one is left behind.

Running alongside Flourish is Kooth Work’s award-winning anonymous digital mental health platform – ensuring employees benefit from the same safe, confidential and clinically professional support as the Qwell.io service.

 

How do finance leaders start protecting the mental health of their teams?

It would be fair to say that there is a growing acceptance in businesses of all sizes, and across all sectors, of the important role they play in supporting the mental health and wellbeing of employees.

According to Bupa Global’s Executive wellbeing index 2021 almost 3 in 10 (28%) business leaders are making employee mental health their number one priority. As a result, they will be increasing their investment in employee mental health and wellbeing by 18% in 2022.

However, all Industry leaders need to put their promises into action – mental health must be viewed on an equal footing to physical health and safety across all industries, not just finance. 

It’s vital that they create a mentally safe workplace for all their employees – and the commitment to do this needs to be company-wide.

From the C-Suite and senior leadership team to the human resource departments and anyone with line management responsibilities, employers must make sure employee wellbeing is a top priority. Ensuring that teams have their antennae tuned into employee wellbeing, keeping an eye out for any signs of concern or distress, is critical. 

Putting employees’ mental health at the heart of a company’s values is the start point for any organisation wanting to create a psychologically safe work environment for all. Psychological safety means that employees should be able to show themselves without fear of negative consequences of self-image, status, or career.

In psychologically safe teams, all employees must feel accepted and respected.

Businesses don’t need to do this alone. Mental health support, such as our Kooth Work service, enables them to provide easily accessible services to the whole workforce and tackle the stigma of seeking help by providing a safe, anonymous, and confidential space. 

As mentioned above, via the Kooth Work Flourish Mental Health Check businesses can identify priority issues, ensuring that no one is left behind.

Want to learn more about managing mental health as a finance leader?

Add Sanjay’s ‘Lonely Leadership: how to avoid and fix burnout at the top’ session to your GENCFO live Summit agenda when you secure your place.

If you don’t want to miss out on any of the insights, why not hear from other industry experts on other hot topics from finance? Explore the Summit and grab your tickets by clicking below.