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Ahead of this May’s IoIC Live conference, which looks in-depth at why IC matters at work and how it’s making a difference to business, we spoke to some of our presenters about what they will be talking about. First up, Royal College of Nursing’s Matt Batten.

Mental health and wellbeing is a core focus area for every organisation, not least those in the healthcare industry.

“Given the work we do, it’s of no surprise that wellbeing is high on our agenda,” says Matt Batten, organisational development adviser at Royal College of Nursing. “But we operate in an increasingly challenging healthcare environment, and we couldn’t ignore the impact this was having on the wellbeing of our people.”

Ten years ago, RCN introduced its first ever health and wellbeing campaign. The internal comms team found that by focusing on the mental health and wellbeing of colleagues, employee engagement and overall business success improved.

RCN became a Sunday Times Top 100 employer and a Best Companies-accredited employer, and achieved Investors in People Gold accreditation.

IC must start the conversation

At IoIC Live, Matt will be sharing what he and his colleagues learned on their journey, and talking about the crucial role internal communicators play in allowing conversations about mental health to flourish.

“If you have an unhealthy culture, you’ll have an unhealthy business,” says Matt. “It can be daunting, but by taking care of your people, you are taking care of your business and your customers. It’s good business sense to shout about the wellbeing of your people.”

With wellbeing central to an organisation’s culture and connected to a business’s success, internal communicators must make sure it is more than a footnote in the organisation’s strategy.

“It involves more than placing a bowl of fruit in the office,” says Matt.

“The importance of mental health and wellbeing needs to be communicated at every level and at every opportunity. Language and imagery are incredibly important – there’s still a stigma around mental health, and IC professionals are best placed to influence conversations, challenge stereotypes, and give a voice to people experiencing mental ill health.”

Promote wellbeing at every opportunity

Start small, Matt advises. “Time to Talk Day is a perfect opportunity to begin the conversation – as is Mental Health Awareness Week (w/c 13 May). Promote these days, organise events and get the workplace talking. But most importantly, provide practical advice and guidance on how to start a conversation.

“It’s not enough to say ‘Hey, it’s OK not be OK and you can talk about mental health here’ without signposting to mental health charities who can help further. Once you open that door, make sure you are supporting employees where you can or at least provide information so they know where to go for help.”

Keep talking about mental health in the same way you talk about physical health, Matt adds. “It shouldn’t be a one-off thing – look for awareness days and other opportunities to keep that conversation going.”


Hear more from Matt, and a host of other IC professionals, at this year’s IoIC Live, in Bath, 9-10 May. Book your place here.

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