John Lewis, Asos, M&S launch employee mental health initiative

today Oct 10, 2019
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In a UK industry-first, seven retailers including John Lewis Partnership, Asia, Marks & Spencer and Next have joined forces to launch a mental health project for retail workers.

Tesco, Sainsbury’s and the Co-op also form part of the group of retailers, which worked together with charity Samaritans to help retail employees deal with mental health issues.

Coming to life in the form of an online guide, ‘Wellbeing in Retail’ will seek to support 2.9 million retail workers improve their mental wellbeing. It includes tips on how to look after your own mental health, advice on how to support others, breathing techniques, the Samaritans listening wheel, mood barometer and films from mental health experts. 

It comes after a joint research showed that over 50% of 2,000 retail workers could not recognise the signs of someone struggling with their mental health, and around 25% would not feel confident approaching an upset colleague.

Charlie Mayfield, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, said: “Mental health issues can affect us all - and stigmas and barriers that once prevented people talking about the issues are starting to erode. The world of work and retail in particular, is fast paced and constantly changing, and we want employees to feel supported. I hope this guide is a stepping stone to creating further conversations on mental health and gives workers the confidence to use it when they may need it.”

Ruth Sutherland, Samaritans CEO, added: “It’s so encouraging to see retailers come together like this for the first time in the interest of improving their staff’s mental health. Over recent years, we have seen a real step change in the attitudes and behaviours of employers as they actively seek to address how they can improve wellbeing in the workplace and we are proud to be part of making this transition happen.”  

Retail is the largest sector employer in the UK, employing more than 3 million workers. 

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