6th May 2021
3 Min Read

PODCAST | Ep.4 Stigma in the shadows

Elle Bradley-Cox
Elle Bradley-Cox
Diversity & Inclusion

Diving in to another topic from our 2021 World Changers report, Elle Bradley-Cox explores taboo topics in the workplace.

Do you remember when talking about your mental health at work was off-limits and considered a massive overshare?

Unwritten social rules dictated that certain topics were off the table. But the Covid catalyst meant we had a collective shorthand to point to. We were ‘all in the same boat’. It was ok not to be ok. It always should have been – but the stigmas associated with taboos made them impossible to explore openly.

But now, the floodgates are open. Organisations are restructuring their benefits, examining their policies and putting mental health centre stage. For some, the gesture is still more performative than productive. But the conversation has well and truly started.

So, what’s next? From periods to politics, menopause to money, what are the taboo topics lurking in the shadows? And how can we in internal comms, help bring them into the light?

Elle Bradley-Cox joins lead behavioural scientist Lindsay Kohler and head of client experience Russ Norton to share the stigmas they believe should be brought out of the shadows.

Guest interview

In this episode, we turn the mic back on ourselves, for a candid conversation with senior consultant Alastair Atkinson about his experiences with anxiety and depression, and his thoughts on what organisations can do to best support their people.

    Want to skip to a specific section? Here‘s what we talked about:

    00:23 Intro to the episode.

    01:44 Roundtable with Elle, Lindsay and Russ, exploring taboo topics in the workplace.

    • 01:51 Lindsay, what made you want to explore stigma specifically?
    • 02:32 After 2020 many topics are out in the open. From mental health to BLM, how do we decide where to focus our energy?
    • 05:15 These topics can be a lot to tackle. Is there a good place to start?
    • 07:35 The pandemic was a door opener for the conversation about mental health. So, what‘s next? Where do we do from here?
    • 09:42 What are some of the taboos not yet on our radars? And will anything be off limits in the future?
    • 15:26 Thinking about our new hybrid world of work, are there stigmas that could be exacerbated?
    • 18:15 What conversations have clients been having about the hybrid workplace?
    • 19:15 What are our audiences telling us about workplace taboos? How do we make D&I more relevant to the reluctant?

    20:40 A candid conversation with Alastair Atkinson, discussing his experiences with mental health, and reflections on what employers can do to support their people.

    • 21:30 Let‘s talk about your first experiences of struggling with mental health. Did it creep up on you or was it a shock?
    • 23:15 Let‘s talk about unhelpful emotions, like shame and guilt. Did you experience these and do you think that experience plays out differently for different genders?
    • 25:45 I asked the gender question because I think men are conditioned early in society to just ‘tough it out‘. Was that your experience?
    • 27:33 You mentioned that attitudes are changing. Did you feel able to open up about your struggle during your career?
    • 31:01 After this last year it‘s evident that mental health support is more important than ever. As someone particularly in tune with the issue, how did it feel to watch everyone else face into the mental health challenge?
    • 33:54 Do you think organisations are doing enough to support their people? What is the best kind of support they can offer?
    • 35.54 You recently shared your thoughts on this for IoIC Voice magazine. What would you suggest to Internal Comms pros thinking about tackling tough topics?
    • 37:52 Who would you nominate for your 2021 World Changer?

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