WPP targets 10,000 UK staff with Mental Health Allies programme to reduce stigma
With the challenges of the pandemic and the effects of social division and injustice around the world impacting on people’s mental wellbeing, WPP has designed a new initiative to support its employees.
The Mental Health Allies programme will be available to all 10,000 UK staff and aims to reduce the stigma around mental health by encouraging open conversations.
More than 250 Allies volunteered from across WPP’s agencies and received training from Mental Health at Work.
They will act as a mental health resource to their colleagues, listening, signposting and helping to keep people feeling supported and healthy. A pilot will also run in the US, before being expanded across further markets.
The Mental Health Allies initiative was originally spearheaded in MediaCom - driven by Head of Diversity & Inclusion, Nancy Lengthorn under the leadership of Global COO Josh Krichefski - which will now be expanding its UK scheme globally to its 8,000 employees.
The new network of Allies forms part of WPP’s wider focus on making mental wellbeing a priority in the workplace, which includes its global Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), a free and confidential 24/7 counselling and support service for staff and eligible family members, and its recent founding membership of The Global Business Collaboration for Better Workplace Mental Health, which is the first worldwide business-led effort of its kind to influence and advocate for positive change within the workplace.
In response to events over the past year, WPP has held a series of ‘safe room’ discussions and panel sessions for its global network to come together, share personal experiences and identify ways of supporting each other with tangible action, including monthly wellbeing check-ins. In addition to this, throughout May WPP and its agencies organised a full programme of events, wellbeing webinars and mindfulness sessions to raise awareness of mental health.
Mark Read, CEO, WPP: “Something we’ve all learned over the last year is the importance of being open with one another about how we’re feeling, and how we’re coping with the challenges we face. Looking after our mental health should be a priority for everyone. At WPP we want to make conversations about mental health an everyday part of what we do, so that we have a culture where anyone who needs help can feel comfortable asking for it.”