Why it’s important to create support networks


Andrew Walsh, founder of AW Repair Group, explains why it's important to look after the mental health of your staff as well as your own

From sporting champions to showbiz celebrities, not many days seem to pass just now without some public figure declaring that they’re taking time out to deal with their mental health issues.

If you’re fully engaged with getting your business going, you might be tempted to think that that’s a luxury you can’t afford, but Andrew Walsh believes that mental health is an issue that entrepreneurs need to take very seriously – starting with their own.

It can be lonely at the top of any business, particularly when you haven’t yet had time to build your teams, and it’s all too easy to pile pressure on yourself by thinking you need to know all the answers. Before that pressure becomes too intense, you need to make sure that you’ve got strong emotional support from your family and friends.

And you need to cultivate other networks too. It’s very easy to dismiss those invitations from your bankers or accountants to networking meetings, but just occasionally they can put you in touch with people who can provide reliable advice in areas from employment law and pensions to insurance – all those subjects where you really don’t have time to become your own expert.

Leaders need to devote a lot of thought to their workers’ wellbeing too. Be on the lookout for anyone showing signs of stress, and take the time to sit down with them and talk through their problems. At AW Repair Group they’ve also introduced Mental Health Champions – selected individuals who act as conduits through which people can get access to professional advice whenever they need it.   

The time you put into promoting the wellbeing of your people is one of the best investments you can make, and should bring rich returns in loyalty, productivity and customer satisfaction.

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