Mental health in the workplace is becoming a hot button topic  – so naturally a new event is launching to address it…

It’s no secret that the last decade has seen a seismic shift in how society views and talks about mental illness. Once a topic often brushed under the rug, the conversation around mental health is increasingly making headline news.

One area where the subject is still often at best misunderstood and at worst taboo is the workplace, which is where Mark Pigou enters the picture.

Pigou, along with an organising dream team comprising Millennial 20/20 co-founders Simon Berger and Rupa Ganatra, InternetRetailing editor-in-chief Ian Jindal, conference producer Claire Farrow and creative strategist Julian Wakefield, will be launching a brand new B2B event – Mad World – in October 2018.

“It all began in the summer of 2016 over a conversation about mental health and issues that were affecting a family member,” he tells Access. “As I read more and more articles in the press about mental health and the stigma attached it led me to explore what was being done to help not just those suffering but also those like me who were trying to get to grips with how best I could support someone suffering.

“The natural curiosity of an event organiser led me to more research, alongside Claire Farrow, on what was out there. There were lots of nice little events, lots of wonderful organisations doing good things and tons of amazing people working hard but all struggling it seems to make real headway in transforming the workplace into a stigma-free environment and also the cultural shift required from the top that would facilitate real change.

“A lot of the time the conversation about change and buy-in was and is getting stuck at line manager level.”

There was a clear gap in the market for an event that tackled the tricky subject of changing attitudes to mental health in the workplace, and which could equip business leaders with the tools to bring about substantial, lasting change within their organisations.

And so Mad World was born, with the noble aim of eradicating stigma around mental health and sparking a new era of wellbeing in the workplace.

The event will aim to attract an audience of C-Suite executives and senior management with procurement responsibility, continues Pigou, from huge multinational companies to SMEs in a range of industries.

To enact the kind of change that can have a lasting impact on how UK businesses approach the mental health of their employees, Pigou and his colleagues believe that it’s necessary to get buy-in from the very top. The show will take place at 155 Bishopsgate in London and will address topics including the evolving role of the CEO, creating an inclusive work culture and the ways in which businesses manage and measure performance.

The show, concludes Pigou, will provide, “a definitive checklist of what you have to do, who has to do it and how you can achieve real change in your organisation, to eradicate stigma and spark a new era of mental health and wellbeing in the workplace.”