Woman looking through a window - social distancing - used for the National Grid story 'Caring for mental health during a crisis'

Caring for mental health during a crisis

Looking after the mental wellbeing of everyone who works for us is always a priority but, as we all adjust to the ‘new normal’ imposed on us all by the coronavirus pandemic, taking care of mental health is particularly important. Find out more about the steps we’re taking to look after our people.

One in four of us will experience poor mental health at some point in our lives and during the coronavirus lockdown we might feel the strain a little more. As we juggle anxiety about the impact of the virus, childcare, home schooling and, for many of us, the shift to working from home, it can feel overwhelming.

This is one of the reasons why National Grid has taken crucial steps to help protect the mental health of our people during the coronavirus crisis. Protecting mental health is always important, but particularly now as everyone is adjusting to radical changes to work and home life.

It’s good to talk

We have introduced screensavers to all work laptops in the UK, which encourage our people to speak to their managers or each other if they’re feeling low. This is part of a concerted effort to raise awareness of mental health and remove the stigma around talking about anxiety and stress at work. This is really important at a time when we are all under more strain than usual.

The mental health and wellbeing of our colleagues has always been a priority for National Grid, but the coronavirus crisis really brings home how important it is to have a strong support network around us. It’s so important to me 

that everyone in National Grid feels supported and cared for. We’re fortunate that care and concern are a deeply embedded part of our culture – it’s amazing the difference a supportive line manager and team can make – and during this crisis we’ve been really challenging ourselves to see what more we can do.

–  John Pettigrew, National Grid CEO

Working toward a new normal

Our HR team is developing materials and learning resources to help managers support their teams, including e-workouts and brief TED talks that can be access globally. These will cover eight topics, including courses on knowing yourself, building resilience and motivating and sustaining performance remotely.

“Everyone is working in extreme circumstances and, by giving them some simple, practical, short, bitesize learning and guidance, we want to help leaders hone the skills they need to manage successfully during the new now,” explains Catherine Schielben, HR Director for Global Talent, Leadership, Inclusion and Diversity.

Training

We’re also offering training around good mental health practice. All managers and their teams can take part in mental health first-aid days, which run over either a half day or a longer two-day course. We also run a one-day Managing My Mental Wellbeing course, in which people can discover a range of tools and techniques to better manage mental wellbeing and health.