Author: Patrick Harrington, Operations Manager

This week we celebrated World Mental Health Day and I felt that as a firm we could not let it pass without posting some thoughts. 

As a male in my late fifties, I am of the generation where the advice given if you were feeling down was to “snap out of it”! Mental health was never on the workplace agenda, and you would only ever ask for time off work for a “tangible, physical” illness or a bereavement. Even when employers began accepting the concept, I suspect I was not alone amongst my peers in initially dismissing the notion of an alternative approach.

My belief is that as an employee, you owe a duty of care to your company, manager, and colleagues, meaning you should only miss work for “genuine reasons”. This has always been the case, but what needed to change, and rightfully continues to evolve even to this day, is what constitutes those “genuine reasons”.

So where do we go from here? It’s clear that a balanced approach is needed when handling employee mental health. Although larger corporations have the resources to provide ongoing support throughout the year, as an SME we also remain committed to continually improving the mental health support we offer our team here at Quinns.

So far, we have instigated a range of benefits designed to support not only our employees, but also their families. We ensure that tools and confidential helplines are available to support mental wellbeing and our team are regularly reminded of these resources.

But more importantly, our Managing Director, Kris, is unwavering in his genuine support of his employees both in and outside of the workplace, for example if they face any issues with their children, sick family members or emergencies at home. He is also incredibly supportive of those who require extended time off – aiming to remove as much from the shoulders of employees and their families as possible.

Finally, taking the lead from Kris, we all look out for each other. People proactively ask after each other’s welfare and lend a listening ear whenever needed. In some ways, building a culture like this adds more value than any external resource and ensures that every Quinns team member knows they never have to struggle in silence.

Since joining the company, my attitude to mental health has certainly changed and I am proud of how we look after our people here at Quinns.