Challenging stigma within a global financial institution

We began our partnership with Mizuho (UK/EMEA), a global bank headquartered in Japan, in 2019. At that time, the bank was at the beginning of its journey to raise awareness around the topic of workplace mental health.

The issue

Mizuho already had some robust resources in place to support well-being, but uptake was low. It was, perhaps, a little uncomfortable to talk about mental health at the Bank, with some managers and employees concerned about crossing the boundaries of privacy or saying the wrong thing to a colleague.

However, from the most senior level within the business there was recognition that challenging the stigma that surrounds the topic and helping everyone to feel more comfortable to speak about mental health, formed part of an important cultural shift. A shift that aligned to Mizuho’s vision of supporting a truly inclusive workplace built on core values of trust and integrity.

The answer

Leading the way, the Executive Team agreed to make our programme of training mandatory for all their managers and took part themselves in two bespoke face to face workshops where they considered their role in supporting the agenda.

Since that time, delivery against the One Mizuho Mental Health strategy has gone from strength to strength. Highlighting the parity between physical and mental health; breaking down stigma; and building the understanding and skill of Managers to get better at noticing change, meet their duty of care and build confidence to start conversations about mental health. Encouraging all employees (whether long standing or new inductees) to talk early if they are experiencing movements away from mental health.

The solution

Mental Health at Work have played an important part in helping the bank to deliver against these strategic targets. Since 2019 we have trained over 1300 managers, employees and leaders via facilitated face-to-face or virtual workshops and webinars. Supporting awareness raising and getting all employees to think about the benefits of taking care of their own mental health in a proactive way. Highlighting the many resources available at Mizuho and beyond to support each employee. We have also trained 28 MHaW Mental Health Allies® across the Bank to provide an expert listening and signposting resource for anyone who needs to talk about mental health as part of the preventative agenda, but who perhaps doesn’t want to talk to their manager. This has included training existing Mental Health First Aiders to develop their skills to become true Allies – creating a more integrated network across the bank.

The impact

From our feedback following our workshops, we have collated data and shared how assimilation of learning has resulted in a personal employee commitment to start/stop/continue a behaviour. Through thematic analysis summary impacts include;

  • a greater focus on leaders/managers considering their own mental health and taking visible breaks
  • managers taking time to check-in with team members outside of transactional matters in the hybrid working world
  • a more careful use of language to support mental health
  • increased openness around impacts on mental health, colleague to colleague
  • raised awareness of resources and increased confidence around signposting

The outcome

Over the last three years, Mizuho have seen a significant increase in take-up of support/resources as part of this preventative agenda
  • A 350%+ increase in EAP uptake since 2020 and a 177% increase in Family Support Membership since 2020.

  • Employee Pulse Survey feedback showed 89% of respondents agreeing/strongly agreeing that Mizuho provide sufficient wellbeing resources and support

The proof

We have continued to work in partnership with the very dedicated Talent, Development & Inclusion team at Mizuho, sharing feedback and identifying ways to meet evolving needs. We have been delighted to support Mizuho to gain well- deserved industry recognition for their approach to wellbeing.

In 2022 they reached the final shortlist of 3 for Best Mental Health Strategy (large company) at the Global This Can Happen Awards. Then in Jun 2023 they were announced as winners of the prestigious Inside Out Awards for Well Being – as UK Large Employer of the Year (Financial Services).

Mental Health at Work are a trusted partner, who have worked with Mizuho to tailor programmes that meet our needs, evolving content to keep knowledge updated and helping us to deliver to the ambitions of our One Mizuho Mental Health Strategy.

Nicole Mather, Vice President, Talent, Development & Inclusion

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