This month features Mental Health Awareness Week in New Zealand with the theme, “Te Tirohanga Anamata – Reimagine Wellbeing Together“. In a year that has brought more disruption and challenge than we could have possibly foreseen, it’s an opportunity for us all to reimagine what wellbeing looks and feels like – during COVID-19 and beyond.

To “reimagine” is to “imagine again or in a different way”. This may sound like stating the obvious but what an amazing year it’s been of changing things to work in different ways. Our businesses have become agile, dispersed teams; our homes have become offices and schools; our community connections have included bears in windows and smiling through face masks.    

At Umbrella, we’ve had a decade of supporting people through face-to-face training workshops and individual clinics. In March, just like many others, we had to pivot our business model to an online approach, supporting wellbeing in workplaces through Zoom.

For our clinical psychologists, this has meant adapting to new ways of learning, interacting and collaborating. It’s meant learning how to think on your feet in the midst of unexpected tech failures and creating psychologically safe spaces together with a screen of many faces. It’s been about taking this on with their usual energy, passion and care as they also juggle their own bubbles and look after their own wellbeing. I know we are not alone in doing this.

What gives me great hope are the organisations that we’ve worked together with each day, reminding me of how creative we can be with our problem-solving and how much care there is for each other. These two things go right to the heart of being Kiwis. 

With the change in alert levels again in August, we have had a significant increase in leaders reaching out to ask how to support their people’s wellbeing as the uncertainty continues. In honour of Mental Health Awareness Week this month, we’re responding with three new areas of support:

  • Firstly, we’re inviting you to join us at one of our free online events where we’ll share our latest wellbeing research for you to ask questions and take away to discuss together with your teams, as you continue to look for new and different ways to support those around you.
  • Secondly, we’ve developed a new 90-minute session focused on Growth through adversity, where we draw on the science of post-traumatic growth and positive psychology to explore what is personally meaningful and motivating, as we navigate the challenges we all now face.
  • Thirdly, we’ve again pivoted in how we offer our training experiences for those businesses that remain working remotely, and at the end of the month will have two half-day workshops available in new online formats, focused on Strengthening resilience and Understanding mental health for leaders.  

Finally, I want to say thank you. Thank you for continuing the work you do in the small moments each day to reimagine wellbeing in your own workplaces. Let’s take a moment this month to celebrate all you’ve done to date, and reflect on all that might be possible in the future. 2020 is not proving to be an easy year but it’s also one that’s connected us together and I have great hope for the foundations this has laid.

Kia Kaha.  Tamara Mapp-Borren, Acting CEO