Mike Sheen talks to a number of leading investment professionals about why industry members are at higher risk of facing mental health problems, and how different organisations are supporting their employees.
When CEO of RWC Partners Dan Mannix first came into contact with mental health charity [email protected], he came to a sad realisation about the state of financial services.
Mannix attended one of the charity's regular forums, which saw more than 1,000 people working across the UK talk openly about their experiences with mental health in the workplace. However, he explains, "there was virtually no one from finance there".
"It was a terrible reflection of the way financial services companies are looking after their people," Mannix says. "It tells you people who work in financial services have perhaps felt less comfortable than others in terms of opening up.
"But it was also a huge opportunity for us to have an impact."
Alongside Unilever, RWC became a founding sponsor of the charity, which today provides even more UK firms with a comprehensive hub of resources on mental health in the workplace.
Mannix says there must be a "fundamental mindset change in the approach to mental health from individuals, organisations and stakeholders… united by the belief that it is the right thing to do".
He adds: "It applies pressure on the broader community to demonstrate they are taking these things seriously."
There is a well-known but uncomfortable truth about the City that makes an increased focus on mental health an urgent priority. Men of a certain age represent a disproportionately large portion of the industry; the very people who are statistically most at risk.
According to Samaritans, UK men are three times more likely to take their own lives than women, while men aged 45 to 49 represent the highest suicide rate.
Mannix says: "While the industry is making great strides to make sure it has ever increasing diversity, as it stands the industry still has a huge bias towards the demographic of men who are most susceptible to mental ill health - one of the manifestations of which is these terrible statistics on suicide.
"It means the industry has an over-exposure to that risk. For many of us, the most likely thing you will lose a male colleague to today is suicide," he adds.
In addition, a 2016 report on mental health strategy from the City of London Corporation suggested all those working in the Square Mile, regardless of gender, could be more susceptible.
It said: "For many City workers the high pressure, competitive nature and long working hours of City roles may also trigger stress and mental health issues including anxiety, depression and risk-taking behaviours.
"Previously, periods of severe economic problems and job instability have had an adverse effect on the mental health of the worker population."
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