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Retailers join forces for mental health support for retail workers

Tom Bottomley
10 October 2019

On World Mental Health Day today, 10 October, in a UK industry first, seven leading retailers have come together to launch a new online training guide to help with mental health issues of retail workers.

Funded by the John Lewis Partnership, ASOS, M&S, Next, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and the Co-op, and developed by the Samaritans, "Wellbeing in Retail" aims to aid the 2.9 million people that work in retail, as well as giving advice on how to support others who may be struggling – giving signposts where to go for extra help.

It has been inspired by joint research from the John Lewis Partnership, M&S, the Co-op and Next, which revealed that over 50% of 2,000 retail workers questioned could not recognise the signs of someone needing emotional support, and around 25% would not feel confident approaching an upset colleague.

Sir Charlie Mayfield, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, said: “The world of work and retail in particular, is fast paced and constantly changing, and we want employees to feel supported. I hope this guide is a stepping stone to creating further conversations on mental health and gives workers the confidence to use it when they may need it.”

Ruth Sutherland, chief executive of the Samaritans added: “It’s so encouraging to see retailers come together like this for the first time in the interest of improving their staff’s mental health. Over recent years, we have seen a real step change in the attitudes and behaviours of employers as they actively seek to address how they can improve wellbeing in the workplace and we are proud to be part of making this transition happen.”

Also in support and acknowledgement of World Mental Health Day, London landlords Shaftesbury has unveiled "Count to Four", a new public artwork by emerging London-based artist Lee Kay-Barry, in Seven Dials.

Mental Health

Count to Four by Lee Kay-Barry

Karen Baines, head of group marketing and communications at Shaftsbury, commented: “The Artist’s Artist Project has been an excellent programme throughout 2019 to spotlight emerging artists, and this particular piece by Lee Kay-Barry will help us to address social stigma and encourage conversations in line with this year’s World Mental Health Day. We’re proud to unveil this final installation and look forward to the positive message it will spark amongst the Seven Dials community and visitors alike.”

"Count to Four" will be on display in Shorts Gardens until the end of 2019 and will be supported alongside a range of other events and initiatives in Seven Dials to support World Mental Health Day and International Men’s Day.

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