May is Mental Health Awareness Month here in the US. Mental health is often overlooked as it may not always be as visible as physical health, even though the two are strongly connected. Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being.
We’re all influenced by the state of our mental health, which is completely normal. Our mental health affects every aspect of our lives: how we think, feel, and act. At Monzo, mental health is just as important as physical health, and we need to take care of ourselves and each other. We want Monzo to be a place where people feel comfortable to talk about mental health freely.
While there is always room for improvement, here are a few things we’ve done at Monzo:
We created a space for people to talk 💬
The heart of our internal communications at Monzo is Slack, a messaging platform. We created a public #mental-health channel for anyone to discuss and share mental health topics. Having a public channel allows anyone to join the discussion, whether it’s about their own personal experiences and feelings, helpful support resources, or they just need to get things off their chests.
We understand there are different levels of comfort 💕
Though we aim to default to transparency at Monzo, there may be times when a public channel doesn’t feel right or as comfortable. Sometimes you just need someone to talk to, especially when it feels like you don’t know where to turn.
We’ve trained a group of people to become mental health first aiders, who are there to support anyone who needs help. We’ve set up a Slack workflow in the #mental-health channel where the workflow sends a message on behalf of the requester to a separate private channel. Only mental health first aiders are members of this private channel, and any of them can pick up the request. Though this program is not a replacement for professional help, mental health first aiders can help create a support network or help someone needing urgent support.
There is a separate workflow in the #mental-health channel to help with suicide prevention. The workflow sends a private message to the requester with information on what to do if they know or are concerned about someone who might attempt to take their own life.
We know life happens 🌱
Your personal life shouldn’t have to revolve around work, which is why we offer flexible working hours. As you might have read in our blog post about workplace empathy, we trust employees to get work done on schedules that work for them and their teams. Some things can’t wait until the workday is over, like doctor appointments, taking kids to school, or even just running to the post office.
Personal events also affect people differently: sometimes you need to take time off, or sometimes you prefer to just work through it. We offer other types of paid leave – or even an extra month of unpaid leave – so you don’t have to use up your vacation days. Whether it’s time off to serve on a jury, time off to recover from a cold, or time off for urgent family matters – if it’s important to you, it’s probably important to us too!
Family is important across all stages of life, so our benefits represent our family-friendly values. In addition to generous parental, adoption, or shared parental leave, we also offer paid fertility leave for things like time to rest and recover after a fertility treatment. Our healthcare insurance comes in a variety of options to cover what you and your family need, including flexible spending accounts to support your dependents. For a loss or other sensitive personal event, we also provide paid compassionate leave (bereavement).
Even if you’re not enrolled in our health plan, you and your family can still access our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at no cost. This program provides 24-hour confidential assistance and online resources for financial, legal, work-life, and health solutions, as well as clinical counseling and critical incident stress management.
We value mental wellbeing 🧠
We’ve partnered with our friends at Headspace to offer discounted yearly subscriptions, if your chosen health plan doesn’t already include it. Headspace is an app with a large library of guided meditations, each with a focus on improving things like self esteem or productivity.
We also host company-wide Bingo competitions with activities to help boost physical and mental wellbeing. Activities can range from going for a walk or bike ride to sharing some love in our #gratitude Slack channel.
We all have high aspirations and are passionate about what we do. We like to think of our mission as a marathon and not a sprint. To continue making an impact, we need to remember to look after ourselves, both physically and mentally.