CA magazine: May 2022
This month, to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week (13 - 20 May), CA magazine approaches the theme of Finance+ Mental Fitness from the angle of resilience. We explore how this crucial quality allows individuals, businesses, and economies to continue succeeding during times of turbulence and provide insights to help with managing pressure.
The events of the past two years have shown that an ability to roll with the punches is critical to business resilience. But having to repeatedly pick yourself up takes a toll. Whether it is the pandemic or its knock-on effects – supply chain disruption, soaring inflation – that finance professionals are currently navigating, even the most resilient among us has needed to prioritise mental fitness. As with an airplane oxygen mask, if we attend to ourselves first, we are better able to help others.
ICAS research underlines just how widespread mental health issues are. A September 2021 survey of 1,000 of our members and students found 82% felt an inappropriate amount of stress related to work, 69% had experienced exhaustion in the preceding 12 months and 19% panic attacks. These are strikingly large numbers. And they’re not just numbers. Extrapolated out, each statistic represents thousands of finance professionals who may need assistance in bouncing back from the challenging times we live and work in.
It’s why, this time last year, ICAS announced a mental fitness pledge. We made a three-year commitment to break the stigma around mental health in business, connect our members and students with relevant resources, and see ICAS become a leader in the space. Thanks to member engagement, we have seen a wonderful snowball effect. The events, articles and campaigns ICAS creates soon take on a life of their own. It was especially heartening to see the messages of support and collaboration during Alastair Campbell’s session on mental fitness at CA Summit, which will return this October.
This issue of CA magazine examines what resilience, both personal and professional, looks like. It’s not as simple as repeating “mental health is important” until people listen – it’s about rethinking business practice for a hybrid world in which volatility has become the norm. If CAs and their firms are to thrive in this new reality, programmes for wellbeing, inclusion and company culture must work seamlessly together. We hope ICAS will be a vital partner in easing that journey.
The Finance + Mental Fitness hub collects all ICAS wellbeing resources