At this point, I feel like pointing out “looking after your employee’s mental health is important” is a tad redundant. Duh. Of course it is. Always has been; always will be.
Although Storm & Shelter is relatively small compared to some of the major production companies and agencies (for now 👀), since we launched, we’ve always wanted to get our policies in shape whilst having an eye on the future of the business; we need them to work with a larger team as well as the current state of affairs. They should also be preventative, rather than a reaction to something that’s already gone wrong. Crowbarring in some flimsy ‘wellness policy’ to a group of burned-out workers long after the damage is done isn’t good enough.
Ethics aside, keeping your employees happy and healthy just makes sense from a business perspective. A satisfied worker is a good worker and all that. That’s why we have policies in place such as flexible hours and self-care days to help encourage people to consider and look after their mental health.
That being said, there’s always been one major barrier to a policy that truly takes mental health into account: access to therapy.
Why therapy? I mean, have you tried it? If not, you should. My personal experience with therapy has been really positive. It helped me get through some tough decisions and personal interactions, not only helping me to become a better partner and friend, but also a better CEO and manager to our team. It’s hard work, and sometimes you really can’t be bothered to trawl through your feelings (I’m really not very good at prioritising mine!), but it’s always been worth the effort for me.
The thing is, having the time, money and energy to find a therapist that works for you can sometimes feel overwhelming and out of reach. Especially if you’re in a dark place, the last thing you need is more admin work and money worries.
One day, an ad for Spill caught my eye, and it was a total no-brainer. We signed up the next day.
We could now offer free access to high-quality therapy for all our whole team 🙌
So what is Spill, exactly?
Spill is an all-in-one mental health support system for businesses that fully integrates into Slack (and Microsoft Teams if you are so inclined). Struggling employees are triaged into therapy, anyone can book a one-off coaching session when they need it, and managers are trained to handle tricky situations.
It gives access to next-day therapy sessions over video calls, on the phone or by messaging; different people have different communication styles, so you can talk to your therapist however you feel most comfortable 👌
It also give immediate access to a whole bunch of exercises and tools to help build mental resilience.
Here are some of our reasons why we love it as a service:
- We like how immediate it is. Starting the conversation is half the battle, and it’s relatively low impact which can help people open up anonymously in a way that isn’t super intense.
- It already fits in with the tools we use at Storm & Shelter. We already have a pretty full suite of tools we use, and having an extra platform and login could make the difference between someone using it and not. Now all they have to do is click a button on a platform they already use every day.
- Training for our managers. Although we feel pretty clued up on stuff generally, having formal training on mental health lets us know we’re doing all that we can to support the team.This was a big one for us!
- Friend and family referrals. The ‘plus one’ feature means that employees can give a free 50 minute therapy session to someone outside of Storm & Shelter. Just a nice lil’ bonus to know that people can extend the support to their loved ones who might not have access themselves.
It isn’t a solution that replaces long-term therapy; instead, it acts as triage and offers immediate treatment, which for a lot of people is likely to be all they need in the early stages before thought patterns become super ingrained. If however, the sessions do raise something which needs a longer-term treatment then it’s super useful to start the conversation and see how their needs can be accommodated.
It’s still very early days for us with Spill, but my initial thoughts are that it’s a great way for companies to provide much-needed support for their team and to encourage an emotionally-open culture where it’s okay not to be okay.
If you wanna know more, drop me a message and we can chat about how it’s working for us 👍