Who’s taking care of the boss?


As we reflect on the year gone by, the importance of positive mental health has really been put on the agenda, reflects Dorset Chamber’s CEO Ian Girling.


Mental Health is an issue we take seriously, and one which we need to consider in the workplace.
The statistics around mental health are worrying:

  • 1 in 4 adults will experience some form of mental illness in any given year
  • 40% of new or longstanding work-related illnesses are caused by stress, depression and anxiety
  • we lose over 12 million working days per year to this
  • 300,000 people with a long- term mental health problem lose their jobs each year. Studies also show that an investment of £1 on training in this area should provide a benefit to the value of £10 to a business.

    What about the boss?

    In business, management will often focus on the mental health and wellbeing of our teams. A question I am asking businesses is who’s taking care of the boss? Business owners and leaders are often isolated and carry huge responsibility. The stresses and strains of running a business are significant, and we should not overlook the welfare of the boss. It’s rare we ask how the boss is.

Got Your Six

To support the mental health and wellbeing of bosses across Dorset, we’ve developed a project called Got Your Six (GU6) (named after a term used by WW2 fighter pilots where they protected the ‘backs’ of fellow pilots in formation, at the vulnerable rear ‘six o’clock’ position). Essentially we are building a bank of GU6 Champions who
are qualified mental health ‘first aiders’ and there for businesses owners and leaders to reach out to at any time. We’ve had a huge response and the project has been met with great support.

Sharing the load

Within GU6 and through our events, we are building a neutral, non-commercially driven, non- judgmental confidential hub where we can talk and discuss our challenges with other empathetic business leaders in order to gain clarity, respite, and control over issues that may be affecting us.
Our first event, the first of its kind by any Chamber, was a huge success, with many business leaders coming together and sharing experiences and feelings we can all relate to and, importantly, strategies for managing these pressures.

It’s ok to not be ok

It was an inspiring, incredibly human and levelling event. We were all surprisingly open, and it was great to find that sometimes it’s ok not to feel ok. I’m so very proud of this initiative, and the fact that it has received huge support from the business community.
If you’d like to find out more or reach out to us, please contact Xanthe on Xanthe.grace@dorsetchamber.co.uk And of course thanks to our sponsors and partners Lester Aldridge, Dorset Mind and Ouch Training. You can see more information at dorsetchamber.co.uk/gu6-dorset

Finally I’d like to wish you and your families and very happy and peaceful Christmas and a wonderful New Year. Here’s to a much better year to us all. Ian


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