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Travel companies mark World Mental Health Day

Travel brands have put in place a range of mental health and wellbeing initiatives around World Mental Health Day, which takes place on Sunday.

Travel Counsellors has launched a ‘Speak Up’ forum to help encourage conversations around mental health. The forum, which sits on Travel Counsellors’ virtual platform, TC World, will serve as a place for agents to share stories, tips and advice for mental health, as well as physical, financial and nutritional wellbeing.

Karen Morris, director of operations, said: “It’s reflective of our company culture and our duty of care to ensure that we are doing everything we can to support, guide and signpost people to all help available – whether that’s the TC welfare fund which has supported both business owners and colleagues through financial hardship over the last few months, or the ‘Speak Up’ forum on our community platform, where open, honest conversations are encouraged, to continue building a culture where people feel comfortable to help each other or reach out for help.”

Jacqueline Dobson, president of Barrhead Travel, said World Mental Health Day was “a good opportunity for businesses to pause, check-in with their employees and review how they can continue to provide the best resources and support”.

The company’s HR team hosted a Wellbeing Zoom Room on Friday “to encourage open dialogue about the importance self-care and give colleagues across the business the chance to reconnect over a virtual coffee,” Dobson added. There was also a confidential ‘check-in’ service for Barrhead employees, which ran throughout this week on its intranet.

“Our people are really key in supporting one another so we’re also reminding everyone of the difference it can make to pick up the phone to a colleague they’ve not chatted with in a while,” Dobson said.

Barrhead Travel announced in August that it will have wellness champions in each of its branches by the end of the year.

Following on from World Mental Health Day, the Malta Tourism Authority will be running a free wellness retreat for travel sales staff in London on Monday, which will also be streamed online.

“The ongoing pressure that the travel industry continues to face as a result of pandemic uncertainties has not only been difficult but pivotal in the awakening of mental health and wellbeing concerns,” said Peter Green, trade trainer, UK & Ireland.

“As a conscious destination, Malta recognises the impact of one’s surroundings and the importance of escapism to places like Malta.”

Touring and river cruise company APT had its own Mental Health Awareness Month in September, where it ran its own series of mindfulness webinars and ensured staff took full lunch breaks without meetings.

Meanwhile, Your Co-op Travel has a number of initiatives in place to focus on employee wellbeing, including partnerships with charities such as GroceryAid, which offers a range of services including counselling and financial grants and more, and Mind, which has “supported colleagues through webinars”.

Louise Winter, regional manager, said: “As colleagues begin to return to work it is so important that wellbeing remains a priority for organisations and World Mental Health Day really highlights the need for colleagues to take time to look after their well-being.”

Charities Reuben’s Retreat and Rose’s Way Foundation, set up by travel industry figures, have helped to create an animated film, entitled Together Not Alone, which was launched for World Mental Health Day. The project was run by the Worry Wizard, a registered psychotherapist, and funded by the Cheshire Community Foundation.

For more coverage on mental health in the travel industry, visit Travel Weekly’s Mental Health Matters Hub here.

Main photo: Lightspring/Shutterstock.com

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