Reading Football Club hosted an HR Breakfast Club event at Madejski Stadium last week, with the subject of mental health in the workplace the focus courtesy of guest speaker David Beeney.
The Royals welcomed local community businesses into the Players’ Lounge at the stadium for breakfast and a fascinating discussion on the stigmas surrounding mental health at work.
David Beeney from 'Breaking The Silence' shared his own story, providing the group with insights as to how to create and encourage a kind and inclusive work culture to reduce the stigma of mental health.
David enjoyed a successful career in media for 36 years but suffered in complete silence with his mental health issue until May of 2016 when he revealed his struggle.
David always wanted to work in magazines and newspapers and, despite hiding his anxiety disorder, by the age of 35 he had secured his goal of becoming the MD of a daily regional newspaper.
David spent the last 13 years of his media career at Auto Trader as one of their Commercial Directors and only left just over a year ago. Alongside his media career, he started training as a mental health counsellor eight years ago and has been qualified for the past three years. He now provides voluntary counselling for the charity MIND, the EFL's charity partner this season.
At the event, he helped to identify the difficulties that managers face in terms of knowing what to say and how to successfully manage employees whose mental health is suffering.
A sincere thank you to David and Breaking the Silence for talking to the group. He spent more than 30 years avoiding such presentations for fear of a panic attack; however, he was so humbled by the feedback he received when he first shared his personal story, he has decided to keep sharing it to help employers understand more about mental health and to help create stigma-free environments that are all inclusive.