At Lean In Jersey’s first Summer Session event, the importance of businesses supporting women’s mental health within the workplace and making maternal mental health more mainstream were discussed.
The event, which was sponsored by EY, welcomed guest speaker Nuala Murphy, the leader of both the Lean In Belfast and Lean In Ireland circles and founder of Moment Health. She addressed an audience of 50 local Lean In members about how her Lean In journey led her to start her own business, which seeks to support society as a whole with issues relating to maternal mental health.
Wendy Martin, Partner and Head of Tax for EY in the Channel Islands, highlighted the importance of businesses supporting maternal mental health and understanding the challenges which can arise.
“As a business leader I believe it is imperative to understand the challenges your teams and colleagues may be facing and be flexible in your approach to these concerns. Although EY is extremely forward thinking when it comes to mental health support in the workplace, there is still work to be done, so we are delighted to be sponsoring an event which brings these challenges to the forefront of conversation,” Wendy said.
Nuala brought together a small group of women who were facing similar challenges in their careers to form the Lean In Belfast circle and the Lean In Ireland circle. She said: “During my first pregnancy I began to experience a lot of bias due to the fact I was pregnant, but still ambitious. I realised this wasn’t just something I was experiencing, this is a global issue that needed to be addressed. Before they’ve even left to go on maternity leave, many women are afraid of what will happen when they come back to work.”
Nuala has since gone on to become the founder of Moment Health; a tech company that aims to make mental health more mainstream through the creation of an app for parents, which screens for perinatal, postnatal and associated anxieties. The company also works with businesses to implement good standards for women’s mental health support in the work place.
Pippa Davidson, the founder of the Lean In Jersey circle, led the fireside chat with Nuala at the event and explained that one of the Lean In Jersey circle’s objectives is to open dialogue with firms regarding their flexible working policies to explore how they can better support families and engage men with these issues.
Nuala advised that creating a platform that is inclusive for both men and women is key to this: “It’s important to remember maternal mental health is not just about mothers; it affects the whole family and society and has a massive impact on relationships within the workplace. Therefore advocacy and creating a safe place where everyone can, ask questions, raise concerns they may be having and have their voices heard is key.”
Nuala had the following advice for any women looking to succeed and follow their ambition in today’s society: “Define what success looks like for you. What you want to achieve both professionally and personally may well be completely different to somebody else’s version of success. Then set about a plan which helps you achieve it. I would also encourage everyone to build a network of peers. Having a support network like a Lean In circle is a great way of not only gaining support, but also perspective on the challenges you are all facing.”