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22 March 2019
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Bill Hancox
Bill Hancox

06 August 2018 Bill Hancox

Bill Hancox, director of FM at Edge Hill University, encourages more frequent and open conversations about mental health in FM.

It is over two months since we celebrated Mental Health Awareness Week. I hope you were able to use this calendar event as a platform to have those ‘difficult conversations’ as a catalyst for change.

Great things are happening in some organisations, however, I am not convinced that we are all doing enough. At an organisational level, I don’t believe it is unrealistic for us all to embrace the six ‘basic’ mental health core standards proposed within the Stevenson/Farmer report Thriving at Work. 

We are all affected by poor mental health at some point in our lives. Experiencing a period of poor mental health isn’t something we should be ashamed of, nor is it something we should avoid talking about. It happens.

I accept that we are perhaps quite a way off having water-cooler conversations about mental health, but we really ought to be overcoming the fear of getting this agenda out in the open. 

FM is about people, and as the aforementioned report suggests, we need to encourage open conversations about mental health and the support available when employees are struggling. 

We also need to equip our colleagues and their supervisors and managers with the right level of awareness training to ensure we make appropriate and timely interventions.

I work in an organisation that has a positive culture with a well-developed health and well-being agenda. I can guarantee to you that I can still stop conversations dead by raising the mental health and well-being agenda.

We are all more accepting that providing a great customer experience begins with providing a great employee experience. We are also more aware that providing a great employee experience is dependent on the existence of a great workplace culture. We should now accept the fact that a great workplace culture depends on us embracing the mental health agenda. It makes good business sense – and it is the right thing to do. 

Bill Hancox is director of facilities management, Edge Hill University