Author: Georgia McGlasson

Make mental health and wellbeing for all a global priority

The World Health Organisation recognises World Mental Health Day every year on the 10th October. It’s a chance to talk about mental health, think about how we can look after it, and encourage those who need help to seek it. This year’s focus is ‘Make mental health and wellbeing for all a global priority’.

In the past, mental health hasn’t been very well recognised let alone prioritised. People who had mental health problems were deemed ‘crazy’, and were often separated from communities and subjected to inhumane ‘treatments’. Thankfully, in 1959, the UK Parliament passed The Mental Health Act which started a chain of events that integrated mental health services into the wider NHS. Treatments are now less invasive and more effective, and there are increasing numbers of mental health charities to help support people. The Equality Act of 2010 also means it is now illegal to discriminate against people dealing with mental health problems in the workplace, while using services such as hotels, hospitals and public transport, or when buying/renting property. We have come a long way, but there is still work to do. Unfortunately, mental health services are overwhelmed, and waiting lists for treatment can be years long, making them inaccessible for many of the people who need them, when they need them.

The public perception towards mental health has also been shifting over the years, but some stigma still remains. Unfortunately, 90% of people with a mental health problem will experience shame and discrimination, whether that be within their relationships, at work or during treatment. Even more heartbreakingly, 26% say this resulted in suicidal ideation. It’s for these reasons that I love to hear people talk openly about mental health; normalising this is so important. The shame I felt on being diagnosed with an eating disorder in 2012 prevented me from talking to many of my friends and family about it for years, which consequently meant I didn’t get the support from them that I needed, and it took me a lot longer to recover. On average, it takes people who are suffering over a year to tell their families and friends about their mental health problem which exacerbates their difficulties, and delays their treatment even more. Now, out the other side of recovery, I’ll happily talk to anyone about my experience with mental health in the hopes that it raises awareness, improves understanding, and helps anyone who is suffering feel less alone and more open to talking.

I like to think about mental health in the same way as physical health, and with the same level of importance (the two are actually very intertwined); we all have mental health and it’s important we take care of it. This comparison also extends to when we experience ill-health; sometimes this is a result of not taking good enough care of your physical or mental health, and other times it’s just pure bad luck. It’s vital that we attach the same value to mental health as we do to physical health. If there are signs of a serious problem, we should address them at our earliest convenience, and seek professional help if necessary. We should feel no shame for this, and even when there aren’t signs of problems, we should still be engaging in behaviours that are protective of our mental health, just like we do with our physical health.

On that note, here are some things I find helpful to maintain or improve my mental health:

  • Journalling/free writing – when I’m feeling confused, anxious or overwhelmed, I like to get my thoughts out onto a page. There’s no judgement on a page, and getting your thoughts out helps to process them, and maybe see patterns or understand behaviours that you couldn’t before
  • Getting out in nature – living in a city centre can sometimes make this difficult, so I’ve also turned my flat into a mini jungle by building up a collection of houseplants to take care of
  • Going for a walk, or if I’m feeling energetic, a run – the benefits of exercise reach far beyond the physical; regular exercise has been shown to lower stress levels and improve mood
  • Yoga and meditation – I find regular practice, no matter how long, is really helpful to slow down my mind when it’s racing, and help me think about things clearly even in times of stress

Most importantly, if you need extra support, you should talk to someone, a friend, a family member, a colleague, a therapist, or all of the above. You are entitled to help. Talking openly and honestly about how we feel is not only helpful for our mental health, it also encourages others to be more open about theirs. This ultimately plays a part in reducing the stigma that is still attached to mental health problems. Next time someone asks “How are you?”, I challenge you to give the honest response (it’s a lot harder than it sounds!).

With 2/3rds of the people who are suffering with mental health problems believing that work stress was a contributing factor, I am so grateful to work for a company that promotes employee wellbeing and offers a range of resources to support this. We have an internal, online POD containing a wealth of wellness resources including articles, recipes and affirmations from the Reward Hub, documents about how to look after your mental health, and inspirational videos and workshops. There’s also a Wellness Action Plan available to go through with your line manager if you want to, which delves deeper into the specifics about what can be done to support your mental health in the workplace. I personally find the existing flexibility around work hours at Makara hugely beneficial to my mental health – if I’m having a bad day, I know I can take breaks whenever I need, and make up the time when I am able to. There is the understanding that, although work is important, we all have lives outside of the office too, and it’s okay to work around our other priorities. Working alongside friendly and supportive colleagues is, of course also a huge benefit. Maintaining a good level of mental health improves our productivity, our physical health, our relationships, and our quality of life. This alone, in my opinion, is a good enough reason to make it a priority in our lives. But there is another reason it needs to be a priority – sadly, 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem every single year, and some of whom will likely struggle in silence. Creating environments where people feel supported, respected and safe to talk about their mental health is crucial if we are to reduce the stigma, and encourage those who need it to seek help. Show compassion to others always; you never know what they’re going through. But, just as importantly, be equally as kind to yourself.

My reflections on World Health Day: Our planet, our health

Every year since 1948, on April 7th the World Health Organisation (WHO) celebrates World Health Day in an attempt to bring awareness to a particular global health issue. I can’t help but think that they must’ve felt very spoilt for choice earlier this month. Previous years have focused on topics such as health equality, depression, and diabetes. This year’s theme is a big one: “Our planet, our health”.

It’s hard for me to know where to start with such an all-encompassing topic of health, but it doesn’t feel right to recognise World Health Day without mentioning the health emergency that just 2 years ago led to lockdowns across the globe. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have been forced to deal with a reality they never thought possible. Each of us has been impacted by the pandemic, whether that be through loss of loved ones, financial insecurity or increased social isolation. Despite this, I’ve noticed many positives throughout the pandemic. In the early days of lockdown, I was in awe of the 436,000 NHS volunteers who risked their health to ensure the safety of vulnerable people, despite uncertainty about the virus being at its height. On top of this, several vaccines were developed in record-breaking time,1 a huge triumph for the scientific community. To me, this is proof that when people work together we can achieve things thought to be impossible.

According to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, it is “almost inevitable” that temperatures will rise above the 1.5°C aim agreed in the Paris Agreement, resulting in irreversible climate breakdown.2 It’s estimated that half of the global population live in areas “highly vulnerable” to climate change even at current levels of heating, and mass die-offs of species are already under way.2 We have a colossal challenge on our hands if we want to prevent a catastrophic global health crisis. It is a challenge that is going to require individuals, organisations, and governments to work together to find a solution. Although the data are clear and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, it’s important to remember what can be achieved when humans work together, as demonstrated by our response to the pandemic. We all have our part to play and we have to work together.

The environmental benefits of the pandemic give us a unique insight into the types of things we need to do to curb carbon emissions; fewer people driving to work or flying overseas for business meetings or holidays meant that global carbon emissions fell by 8.8% in the first half of 2020.3 Naturally, as vaccines allowed us to return to ‘normal’ and restrictions were eased, carbon levels started to rise again to pre-pandemic levels.4 However, this does not mean that all progress is lost. More organisations have learned to adopt more flexibility when it comes to working from home, and platforms such as Zoom have retained a large customer use for business meetings.5 Throughout the areas of my life, I am hearing more people talk about what they are doing to reduce their carbon footprint, which fills me with hope. A shift in what’s ‘normal’ is exactly what we need to improve the health of our planet, and to ensure the safety and survival of generations to come.

At Makara, we are constantly adapting to new challenges and seeking innovative solutions. When it comes to the turbulent times of the pandemic, with an existing home-working structure in place and a holistic approach to employee health and wellbeing, Makara was well equipped to deal with the challenge. As a reputable and rapidly growing company, we have a respectable sphere of influence within the healthcare industry. I am proud to see initiatives such as the virtual forest, where hundreds of trees will be planted by Makara to support the health of the planet and increase awareness of this important issue. Continuing efforts such as these will have both direct and indirect environmental benefits, as we encourage and inspire each other to think more proactively about the environment.

The WHO has produced a really informative and inspirational video for World Health Day that I’d highly recommend giving a watch: or you can read more here:

If you want to read more about how you can further help the environment, Imperial College London have put together a useful guide:


  1. Brothers W. A Timeline of COVID-19 Vaccine Development. BioSpace. 2022 [cited 5 April 2022]. Available from:
  2. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. 2022. Available from:
  3. Liu Z et al. Near-real-time monitoring of global CO2 emissions reveals the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nature Communications. 2020;11. Available from:
  4. Tollesfson J. Carbon emissions rapidly rebounded following COVID pandemic dip. 2022 [cited 5 April 2022]. Available from:
  5. ‘This Could Have Been a Zoom Meeting’: Companies Rethink Travel. 2022 [cited 5 April 2022]. Available from: