The key to tackling mental health in the workplace is helping businesses know where to start, says Sanctus founder James Routledge.

Routledge launched the London-based company, which offers coaching sessions to help businesses improve their approach to the topic, following his own battle with mental health.

He will be sharing his story and advice at BusinessCloud's 'Opening up on mental health' event on July 3rd. You can sign up to attend for free here.

Despite the stigma that still surrounds the subject, Routledge says there are positive signs.

“It depends on the business, of course, but I believe most are open-minded towards mental health in the workplace, they just don't know where to start,” he told BusinessCloud.

“The businesses that believe mental health isn't something to be discussed at work are, in my opinion, archaic at best.”

Through his first-hand experiences of anxiety, and his work with Sanctus, Routledge has firm ideas about how businesses can get better at discussing mental health and supporting those that need it.

“Start the conversation and create an environment where it's OK for people not to be OK – it has to start with vulnerability,” he said.

“Just meet more people and be part of the discussion. This is an exciting time for mental health – things are changing and I'm happy to be part of that.” 

Tunafish co-founder and MD Sam Jones, who recently spoke with BusinessCloud at length about his battles with anxiety, agrees that an open conversation is the way to go.

“I think we just need to keep talking about it,” he said. “The attitude to mental health in business is hard [to judge] as it’s still a bit of a taboo.

“Saying that, since I’ve been more open about it the response has been nothing but good and I think a lot of people understand it and want to talk about it.

“I’m hoping the mental health event will be a platform where people can be honest with their experiences and help and advise anyone that may be struggling themselves.”

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The event, held in conjunction with business psychologists Carter Corson, will take place at KPMG’s offices in Manchester on Monday June 3rd from 5.30-7.30pm.

Other panellists include Vikas Shah, CEO of Swiscot Group Laura Wolfe, managing director, Wolfe; Mylo Kaye, CEO, Dreamr; Rupert Cornford, head of business relationships and communications, Carter Corson; Tom Smith, former Lancashire County Cricket Club captain; Hannah Johnson, director, Carter Corson; Tom New, co-founder and CPO, Nudgr/Formisimo; and Dr Libby Artingstall, consultant psychiatrist/director Team Mental Health.