Ep5 – The Smash the Stigma of Mental Health Edition with Rob Stephenson

Ep5 – The Smash the Stigma of Mental Health Edition with Rob Stephenson

In this special edition of The Only One Business Show James chats with Rob Stephenson, a mental health influencer, campaigner and public speaker striving to create mentally healthier workplaces. He experiences bipolar disorder personally.

 

Rob is the founder of Inside-Out.org, a social enterprise with a mission of smashing the stigma of mental ill-health in the workplace by showcasing senior leader role models with lived experiences of mental ill-health.

 

InsideOut also takes these role models into businesses for panel events as part of an initiative which has the aim of inspiring other senior leaders to open up about their own challenges and get behind the mental health agenda.

 

Rob is also passionate about stimulating investment into the preventative mental wellbeing space.

 

Contact Rob:

 

www.inside-out.org
www.mindcycle.cc
rob@inside-out.org

Click for the full transcript

James Nathan: 00:06 Hello and welcome to the only one business show with me, your host, James Nathan. Today in the studio, I have a fabulous guest for you and a guy that’s making some proper waves. He’s a mental health influencer, campaigner and public speaker with the goal of creating mentally healthier workplaces. He experiences bipolar disorder himself, so it’s a very personal thing. He is founder of insideout.org a social enterprise with the mission of smashing the stigma of mental ill health in the workplace, by showcasing senior leader role models with lived experiences of mental ill health. This is done by virtue of a published annual list called the Inside Out Leaderboard. Inside Out also takes these role models into businesses for panel events, which has the aim of inspiring other senior leaders to open up about their own challenges and get behind the mental health agenda.

 

James Nathan: 01:44 In 2018 he completed the Mind Cycle Tour riding over 3000 kilometers of the Tour de France route on a static bike. Sat in a number of different corporate workplaces, stimulating conversation about mental health. He’s also passionate about stimulating investment into the preventative mental health wellbeing space. And at the moment is doing this through being chief analyst at Better Space a mental health, wellbeing solutions marketplace. And in this role, he’s responsible for gathering the participants into a huge project called the Big Wellbeing Data Project, a mass collaboration designed to calculate the ROI of preventative solutions. Please welcome Rob Stevenson.

 

James Nathan: 02:27 Rob, that’s a mouthful, all of that. You’re a busy guy. How are Ya?

 

Rob Stephenson: 02:32 Thank you James. Thank you for having me. I’m really good actually. And I only hope I can live up to that introduction that you’ve just given me on this podcast.

 

James Nathan: 02:40 As a way of a background. I mean, you, I’ve known each other for a long, long time. We worked in the same corporate many, a lifetime ago it feels like nowadays. You started really pushing the smash the stigma campaign. How long ago? Not so long ago now.

 

Rob Stephenson: 02:57 Yeah, I think I’ve been working on this probably 18 months now. So, um, you know, my backstory, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when I was 30. I’m 47 now and over the years after being diagnosed where I thought, great, I can be fixed, I can be mended, the medical profession can, can solve my problem here. And then realized that actually that wasn’t the sole answer. And the depression came back but I learned over that period forward to really manage my condition. And I learned that exercise is really important. I learned that sleep is really important. I give myself a score out of 10 every day. And today I’m an eight. If I was seven, six, five, then I want to know why and what can I do in life to stop myself being a four. Because if I’m a four, I’m in bed with depression and I can’t get out of bed.

 

Rob Stephenson: 03:52 I can’t do my job. I cannot look after my children. So I’ve learned how to, you know, kind of, kind of stay in that balance zone. There will be periods of depression, there will be periods of mania. But I’m a, you know, a productive member of society. But I learned to do all of that under the radar with only close friends and family knowing about it. And that was due to stigma. That was due to a fear that I’d be perceived differently. So my inspiration for Inside Out and helping smash the stigma in our workplaces is personal really. And it’s about realizing that actually we should all be able to talk about our mental health in our workplaces and in society.

 

James Nathan: 04:29 And it’s amazing that, you know, it’s in 2019 we’re still talking about this, but, you know, the fact we are is important and you know, as you know, I suffered depression myself and, and I don’t talk about it. Well I didn’t. And then you and I started talking and I started to talk about it and actually it’s almost like a weight lift isn’t that it’s a, it feels quite nice to be normalized rather than feeling you’re something very, very different.

 

Rob Stephenson: 04:54 Yeah, I I think so completely. And, actually when we lift that weight of pretending to be someone who would not, of carrying that burden, we can actually experience less of the challenges of mental ill health than we would experience before. And I’ve heard this a number of times with role models from the Inside, Out Leaderboard that having made that decision to be open actually experience less of the challenges of their mental health condition itself. And I think that’s due to that pressure, that weight being lifted from our shoulders.

 

James Nathan: 05:28 Isn’t that incredible? What was the catalyst? What, what, what happened 18 months ago where you thought do you know what, I really need to do something.

 

Rob Stephenson: 05:36 Yeah. It was one particular moment and I heard a campaigner, called Jeff McDonald’s speak and Jeff is now a good friend of mine. And Jeff was talking to an audience about his work, in ending the stigma, but he was telling the tale of his anxiety and depression and the loss of a friend of his to suicide.

 

James Nathan: 05:58 Right.

 

Rob Stephenson: 05:58 And I was sitting there in the audience and James, I felt shame. And the reason I felt shame is because there was a successful business owner with supportive people around me, great partners, lovely staff. And yet every week when I’d go and see my therapist, I’d put the word physio in my diary. Physio for years. Right. My team must have thought, I’ve got the worst physiotherapist in the world.

 

James Nathan: 06:21 You must be hurting yourself constantly or you’re forever doing something silly or that physio needs swapping out.

 

Rob Stephenson: 06:27 Yeah, exactly. And yet I’m coming in on a Monday, I’m telling tales of a hundred mile bike rides. And so it didn’t make sense. And, at that moment I was inspired to be open personally, but I was further inspired to think how could I contribute to the movement out there of ending stigma in our workplaces and creating mentally healthier workplaces. And I did a lot of listening at the time. I went to conferences, I met people campaigning and the message I heard consistently was we do not have enough of our senior leaders from workplaces being open about their lived experience of mental ill health and acting as role models in our workplaces.

 

James Nathan: 07:09 And so now you’ve, you’ve got more and more people talking and the leaderboard is quite a fascinating thing. How many people are on there now?

 

Rob Stephenson: 07:16 We published the first leaderboard in March with 42 role models as I call them participating and that ranges from CEOs, people like Jane-Anne Gadhia, the ex CEO of Virgin Money through too partners in Deloitte and PWC. But also partners in Clifford Chance and Herbert Smith Freehills the law firms, through to MDs of, you know, smaller businesses and SMEs. And we even had the commissioner of the London Fire Brigade who’s got an amazing story of vulnerability and leadership post the tragedy that was Grenfell, when she realized that actually if her firefighters were going to seek the help they needed to recover from the trauma of that evening, she needed to publicly declare that she was seeing a therapist herself. And that was in the face of pretty intense public scrutiny as you can imagine at the time. And it’s an amazing story of, of leadership and vulnerability and there’s many stories like that from the leaderboard. So yes, 42 from different walks of life, different industries.

 

James Nathan: 08:20 Fantastic. You touched on something there to think is quite interesting cause I’ve got a kind of fascination at the moment with people in the military and PTSD and the things that go on for them. And you know, the, the number of times that they live, like you described in shame of not wanting to talk about their issues because of the kind of macho environment that they come from. And I guess the, the fire service is, is very similar, but what they have to go through the things that they see, nobody could imagine you would cope with that.

 

Rob Stephenson: 08:56 Yeah, absolutely. And I think we need to look at workplace cultures across the board. And suddenly you mentioned the forces. I was on a panel with quite a senior medical officer from the Royal Navy yesterday and, he was saying actually the, the culture internally is probably not as you might expect in that, that the, you know, the members of the forces are actually talking more about what they see from a trauma point of view internally than we might see in some of the corporate workplaces, which is quite interesting. But I think, you know, obviously where you do have macho cultures and combine that with, with trauma, like, like the fire services or you know, macho cultures, generally construction industry for example, that we have to work, you know, a lot harder to create those environments where people can know, put their hand up if they are struggling and speak out. So some of the most rewarding took keynote talks that I’ve done to businesses are those sorts of cultures. You know, I remember one of my early talks was to the Royal Berkshire Service, to their senior management team and you’ve got these grizzly, old senior firefighters, that we’re inspiring to talk about mental health and the challenges that people face. And it’s really important.

 

James Nathan: 10:15 They, I mean, it’s a very understandable reasons in those kinds of jobs why you would end up with, with different issues. But you don’t have to be in those roles. Accountancy’s my background and yours of, you know, it’s not the most dreadful environment most of the time. But yet there’s a huge number of people who are struggling under the radar.

 

James Nathan: 10:39 Yeah, absolutely. Look, mental ill health knows no boundaries. It knows no boundaries of class of job title of earning potential. Sure there are environments that will be more stressful or more traumatic. But actually mental ill health can strike down anyone. And if you look at some of the accounting environments, there will be certainly work pressures that contributes to mental ill health like you know, year end reporting for example. And so then you start looking into the workplace culture of during those busy periods. How can people balance the stresses that they are experiencing with moments of recovery and do the cultures that they work in allow that. So for sure, I think, you know, in our workplaces, generally, today or in a lot of workplaces where we’re using our minds rather than than our bodies for work, and mental health ill health can apply to anyone.

 

James Nathan: 11:39 How businesses changing when you talk with them and you discuss the issues that they’re seeing, what are they then doing to change their cultures? Cause culture shift is a slow thing, isn’t it?

 

Rob Stephenson: 11:52 Culture shift a is a slow shift. I think certainly in terms of breaking stigma of mental ill health, one of the key things is getting leadership engagement and once you get leadership engagement in the mental health agenda that can start the process of culture change. You also then need other people sharing their stories in the organization and that that needs to be at all levels in my opinion because storytelling is one of the most powerful ways of normalizing the conversation. And making people feel that they’re not alone. So there’s great campaigns out there like the This Is Me campaign from the Lord Mayor’s appeal, the charity Time to Change, the work of the City Mental Health Alliance, the Heads Together campaign. You know, there’s a lot of really great campaigns that are helping organizations do this.

 

Rob Stephenson: 12:48 But I think really the first part is, you know, breaking stigma that making people understand that it’s okay to talk about your mental health, whether that’s mental ill health or actually your mental wellbeing and your mental health. And that, that’s another issue really in that we often think of mental health as binary. You know, you’re either well or you’re ill. Whereas actually we are on a mental health continuum. We all oscillate on that continuum, some more broadly than others like myself. But we all have mental health. We can all influence it. We all have good days and bad days, but actually stigma prevents us from managing it effectively in the workplace in my opinion.

 

James Nathan: 13:31 So obviously the Mind Cycle was a very big campaign that you put together initially to get conversation happening, which you did in a super way. And you’re running exhibitions of photo will photograph exhibitions in businesses now, how does that work?

 

Rob Stephenson: 13:48 Yeah, the Inside Out Exhibition is a series of 15 portraits, of a number of the Inside Out role models from the leaderboard this year. But it’s portraits alongside quite impacted quotes about their challenges of mental ill health and the impact they’ve had on their workplace. So the vision for this is that people see the exhibition and, and see that it is portraying leaders of our workplaces who are being open and having an impact and really inspiring others to follow suit. And I think that’s the main drive of Inside Out really. It’s to inspire change. It’s to inspire our leaders to say, look, it’s okay to talk about your mental health. And in any boardroom you will have people there who have suffered depression or anxiety or a OCD or other even more serious mental ill health conditions, either directly or with a family member or close friends.

 

Rob Stephenson: 14:47 So everybody’s touched by this in some way. And I think what we want to do is inspire more leaders to follow suit. And it’s hopeful that the exhibition is a very visual way of doing that.

 

James Nathan: 15:00 I’m going to put some contact details at the bottom of the show notes. And one of them will be how they get in touch with you because if leaders do want to come and join the leader board, is that something that they can do?

 

Rob Stephenson: 15:14 Absolutely. Yeah. So the criteria for joining the leaderboard is, it’s very simple. It’s that you are a CEO or up to three stages removed or equivalent and you have experienced a period of mental ill health that has affected your ability to do the job. So, you know, it’s meant to be quite simple and I’m certainly happy to have a very confidential discussion with anybody who is considering that move and would like to just know a little bit more about it.

 

Rob Stephenson: 15:43 And the other thing that we’ve done with a couple of clients who’s actually taken some of the role models from this year’s leaderboard to have a kind of boardroom discussion with a number of senior leaders who are considering sharing their story either internally or more broadly on the Inside Out Leaderboard. And that’s worked pretty well because actually when you, and you’ll be aware of this James, when you do first share your story, you get a real influx of positivity but also have people sharing their own challenges with you. And you know, when you’re a leader of a workplace that is amplified. So I’ve heard stories of some of my role models once they’ve first shared their story is, you know, their inbox has been flooded with people either, you know, talking to them wanting advice or, just really sharing their own challenges. So it’s important to sort of prepare yourself for that as well.

 

James Nathan: 16:40 That’s an interesting phenomenon actually. And it’s almost a case of it takes one to know one, but you’re not looking for it. I know with a lot of people who spoke into me and they’ve said, you know, I didn’t know you, you’d had those issues before mate, I do, you know, and have for a while and blah, blah, blah. And, you’d talk to them and then, then the clues start to link up in your mind and you think, oh, do you know what, why didn’t I see that? How do we help people look for the signs? Or is there a way that they can do that?

 

Rob Stephenson: 17:10 I think there’s a very simple way. I think we need to be a bit more human in the workplace. So I’ll tell you a story. When I first decided to be open publicly about my challenges, I realized I needed to be open with my children. So I had a conversation with my daughter Gabby, who was six at the time. And Gabby, I said, look, how do we look after our mental health? And she quickly crossed out the the M and drew and L, she’s very concerned about the health of our lentils.

 

James Nathan: 17:43 Kids are wonderful aren’t they.

 

Rob Stephenson: 17:46 Kids are amazing. So I said to Gabby look how do we look after our mental health? She said, no accidents, you know, where you wear your helmet on your bike. And I’m like, okay. Quite literal answer from a six year old. So I said, what about our brain? How do we look after our brain? And she said, think a lot. And I said, okay. I needed to be more specific. So I said, Gabby, if you woke up one day and you didn’t want to get out of bed and you’re feeling really sad and you didn’t want to do the things that normally give you a lot of fun and pleasure, what would you do? And she looked at me like I was asking the most obvious question in the world. She said, Daddy, I would find someone who I love and I would tell them, I would talk, find someone who you love and tell them I would talk.

 

Rob Stephenson: 18:29 So then I said, Gabby, if you went to school and you saw someone in the playground who was sitting on their own and not engaging in play, looking very sad, not acting normally, what would you do? And this time she looked at me like I was a complete and utter idiot. She said, Daddy, I would go over and I would see if they’re okay. I would ask if they’re okay. And for me, we can learn a lot from our children about issues that we overcomplicate as adults and in society. And so in the workplace, we have a unique perspective on people, a privileged perspective. We see people’s behaviour for eight hours a day. And actually, if we take the time to get to know people around us, we can see changes of behaviour. We can see when people are not acting in their normal bounds of behaviour.

 

Rob Stephenson: 19:18 And then what could we do then? We could say, are you okay? And we could ask it and we could mean it, and we could say, no, no, actually you don’t look right today. You know, do you want to have a cup of tea? Do you want to go for a walk? Do you want to have a coffee? Can I help? Can I listen? And we’re afraid of doing that because of stigma. We’re afraid of talking about people’s mental health. Whereas if we saw someone come in in a cast on their leg, we would say, oh no, you’ve broken your leg. How did you do it? Are you feeling about it? You okay? Can I help you? Can I get you a cup of tea? But we don’t do that mentally and we treat our mental challenges very different to our physical ones. So I think in the workplace very, very simply, we can actually just be human and, and check in with people on a regular basis.

 

James Nathan: 20:04 It’s an interesting thing you mentioned there about physical health because it is obvious, you know, and I made this kind of connection a little while ago when I was talking to someone. And so, you know, I have a very bad back, and it’s well looked after and I’m pretty good. But if someone asked me to move something very, very heavy, I have to say no, now I’m a big bloke and I look like I should be able to do it. And they go, yeah, whatever, you know, cause you can’t see the problem. And I think mental health is a bit like that. If you’re not feeling great or you’re not quite on it, it’s just, there’s nothing physical and obvious to help someone. There’s been some, some ideas recently about, making things more physical and real, more obvious for people who are experiencing, you know, down periods or whatever it might be like wearing a badge for instance. Is that something, is that a good thing? What do you think of that idea?

 

Rob Stephenson: 20:52 I’m not sure about that. I think we need to get away from the labels a little bit and I think, you know, having something as overt as a badge doesn’t really sit that well with me. I think for me it’s about being able to connect with somebody on a human level to understand, you know, when they are struggling, or when they’re acting a little bit differently and actually having that relationship, that caring relationship in the workplace that we’re looking out for each other, which I think it just about being a bit more human. Personally, I think wearing some sort of visual representation that I’m struggling today. I think it’s a personal thing, but it wouldn’t really sit that well with me because whilst I identify as somebody who has a mental illness, being bipolar, that is a part of who I am.

 

Rob Stephenson: 21:48 And, you know, I choose to talk about it to inspire change, but it’s a small part. I’m a father, I’m a son, I’m a cyclist, I’m an entrepreneur, I’m a public speaker, we are all many, many different things. And I think as we go through this journey about breaking stigma, we will start talking more about what are our problems rather than what are our mental illnesses. And, how do we overcome them. And so for me, I’m a little bit little bit nervous about the visual representation in that way. What I do like with the visual representation is people who are ready to listen. So I’ve heard, you know, I’ve heard good stories in workplaces where people who are trained in mental health first aid or you know, had training in sort of listening skills and have maybe different coloured lanyard that actually, you know, if you’re struggling, those people are available to talk and it’s identifying people that are not necessarily your line manager or in your immediate team but are available to have a chat about mental health.

 

James Nathan: 22:52 I love that idea. I think that’s a really clever thing and a very simple thing isn’t it? But also with it not being your line manager or not being your team, it will be easier I think, to have those conversations where you don’t feel it has a direct impact immediately and allow you to come to…. to become more open about what’s going on. When you’re talking about Gabby, I love that story. I think it’s absolutely fabulous. My kids a little bit older than yours, but they’re not that old yet and they still have those sort of conversations. And what I love is that because we’re having conversations, not me, you, but us as a community, as a society, around issues of mental health as well as physical health, as well as wellness and wellbeing generally and happiness and good eating and every other aspect of a balanced life. Kids see that as normal and then, you know, they don’t think of it as something very different. And I’m hoping I mean, I have a couple of hopes in my life. One is that within a generation, you know, skin colour becomes something kids don’t see cause mine certainly don’t see it. I think that would disappear similar with, with issues of male and female difference in workplace. I think that will disappear. Smoking, I’m really hoping will also disappear. But the big one is that that mental health becomes a normalized agenda rather than a difference. And I think that that’s coming. And if kids like Gabby can be so incredibly insightful at six, you know, what could she be like at 30?

 

Rob Stephenson: 24:27 Yeah, I agree. And I’m and optimist James , and I think the sheer level of campaigning, the sheer number of people, you only have to look at mental health awareness week, which, um, was fantastic in terms of the noise, the posting from individuals, companies, charities, celebrities, royals, it’s really on the agenda and there’s a willingness to create change. Now I think we’re in the foothills of where we need to be, but I think the desire from a whole bunch of people and a bunch of stakeholders is there. And actually when you think about it’s ridiculous. We use the word stigma quite a lot, right? Stigma is defined as a mark of disgrace or associated with a particular quality or person. Now, are we really saying that someone’s suffering from mental ill health is disgraceful? Of course we’re not, you know, and actually we wouldn’t accept that in society for someone with cancer we’re doing, you know, and there was a stigma associated with cancer and that has been eroded. So I think we’re getting there. There’s lots of work to do and there’s lots of, you know, taboos, and language and policies to unravel. But I think the willingness is there. So I’m optimistic that certainly, and within, within a generation, we’ll see that.

 

James Nathan: 25:50 That would be, I mean, you mentioned there cancer, being a stigma attached to cancer and you know, you almost shudder to think really, how could people possibly think like that? But we’re only talking a generation ago.

 

Rob Stephenson: 26:01 Yeah. It used to be called the big C, right? Nobody would want to say the word.

 

James Nathan: 26:05 Yeah, yeah, absolutely. But then things change and they change really well. When we’re talking about the future of mental health in our lives, in the workplace. In your introduction, they touched on preventative mental wellbeing, which I’m absolutely fascinated by. Tell me more about that.

 

Rob Stephenson: 26:24 Yeah. So I think if you accept the fact that we all have mental health, and you accept the fact that we’re all on a mental health continuum, you can then start to look at, well, given any population, where are we on that continuum? And so there’s been some work done by some Cambridge academics called Keys and Hoopitt, and they’ve kind of mapped out that normal distribution. And so you’ve got about roughly 18% who’ve got a disorder or a diagnosis. You’ve got a similar amount, 17% who are actually thriving at any one time. And so the other 65% of the population are either languishing, which is where you get your presenteeism statistics from or have moderate mental health. But here’s the thing, right? If you haven’t had a disorder and like me or yourself, you haven’t been forced to discover what works to maintain positive mental health, you actually don’t really know how to manage your mental wellbeing.

 

Rob Stephenson: 27:23 You know, you might exercise a bit because you know you should keep physically fit, but you might not understand the benefits on mental health. You certainly might not feel the need to practice mindfulness or taking recovery breaks in the day or working on your social connection or whatever it might be. So actually, I think the, one of the biggest opportunities for employers and individuals is to accept the fact that we can positively improve mental health and then go about discovering how to do that. Now I think it’s difficult because we’re not taught how to do it. Like we’re, you know, we’re taught dental hygiene you know, and so we know how to brush our teeth. We’re not taught how to look after our mind. So there’s this discovery process that we need to do. It’s doubly difficult for organizations because I think what works for an individual can differ wildly.

 

Rob Stephenson: 28:14 You know? So for me, exercise is crucial. Somebody else might need to do some good in society and get a sense of purpose to improve their wellbeing. But I think actually there’s a great opportunity here. So that’s why I’m really excited about the Better Space platform that I’m involved in, which is a, it’s a marketplace, a bit like an airbnb that is designed to help direct individuals and corporate budgets to what might work for that individual. And it could be headspace to Barry’s bootcamp to woodwork or singing lessons. There’s a whole range of things that are a good for the mind on there.

 

James Nathan: 28:48 Fantastic. And, I mentioned before, I love the idea of that. I think that the fact that, um, that people are starting to talk about it puts it on agendas, once it gets on agendas, budgets appear. When budgets appear, things happen. Corporates are very budget driven bid like the NHS I guess, you know, there’s not enough money in, well there’s never enough money is there, and the more we look at allocating resources in different ways, the better businesses we have. And, you know, we were talking earlier about…. you know, cause I talk a lot about the service that businesses give and how that, knocks on, you know, make them a better business. Well, a lot of that is to do with hiring the right people with the right core values and the right purpose to join that business. If your business has a very strong health agenda in all aspects of health, I can’t see how that wouldn’t attract better and more people to your business.

 

Rob Stephenson: 29:48 Yeah, absolutely. And I think there’s a few points that I’d like to make on the, I mean, I think you’ve touched on, you know, the service and the delivery of service to clients. And I, and I know this is something you’re very passionate about, James, in delighting customers and clients and by giving excellent service. I think to be able to be able to do that, we need to actually be giving excellent service to the people that we’re employing. And that is creating workplaces that are healthy, um, and allow people to thrive. I think it’s also putting those people higher up the order of values of the organization. So most organizations in some way, shape or form will have shareholder value or stakeholder value as a key driver. But what about actually creating healthy places to work? So the Environment Agency for example, I’ve got a value of creating a place to work that is a life enhancing experience. Now imagine starting that with your value and then working down to the wellbeing and mental health of employees within it.

 

Rob Stephenson: 30:53 But the other point that that resonated when you were speaking there is actually about the budgets for preventative solutions. Because I think these budgets don’t really exist yet. Because mental health is only just onto the agenda and organizations don’t really know actually where to invest anyway in the preventative solutions. So I think we’ve got to kind of prove the investment case to a certain extent to create a new budget that’s not just simply allocating costs from another part of the business. Right. And so this, there’s some really interesting work done by McKinsey a number of years ago around climate change. They basically calculated something called the marginal abatement cost curve, which was mapping out everything from loft insulation and wall installation right through to nuclear power and working out what the payback or return on investment would be.

 

Rob Stephenson: 31:48 And so one of the projects I’m involved in, which you referenced at the start, the Big Wellbeing Data Project is actually a mass collaboration to try and get people using these preventative solutions across 10 companies and 10,000 employees and then work to track how that affects wellbeing. But then how we go from that increased wellbeing number to, an increase productivity number in monetary terms. And then we can say, actually here is the return on investment data that, you know, if your CFO needs to see that to assign new budget, because we’re gonna get, you know, five to one returns on these investments, then really we’re creating the budget to invest in preventative solutions and then we can create those healthier workplaces that will allow us to deliver and delight our customers.

 

James Nathan: 32:36 Fabulous. Fabulous. Rob. So much to think about there, and I hope that people listening are starting to wonder what they can do in their own businesses and what they could start to think about. So what’s your big one thing was, what’s your golden nugget that people could take away to try and make their businesses a better place now and for the future? What could they do?

 

Rob Stephenson: 33:02 I think for me, the big thing that businesses can do is actually getting their leaders behind this agenda. And that can be by going on the Inside Out Leaderboard and sharing their lived experience if they have some lived experience, and are prepared to do so. Or it could just be getting leaders to, to buy into, to what it’s all about. So increasingly what I’m being asked to do is go in to present to boards, and spent time in board meetings. And, that’s a real privilege to do that. But actually the response I’m getting is, okay, we see what you’re saying here. How do we make it happen? How do we put this into practice? And once our boards and our senior leaders are engaged in the mental health agenda, then we will see change and we will see culture change as well.

 

James Nathan: 33:51 Rob, thank you so much for your time. I know you’re a super busy guy at the moment and if people want to get in touch with you I’ll pop all the details below, they can do that. They can contact you, they can talk about, the leaderboard, whatever aspects of what you do with them. But Rob, thank you so, so much for your time.

 

Rob Stephenson: 34:09 Brilliant. It’s a pleasure, James, and always time to speak with you. Thank you.

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