Wessex Garages partner with the global movement, [M]enable, shining a light on the importance of mental health within and outside the workforce.

Wessex Garages is one of the UK’s leading vehicle retailers, offering world-class vehicle brands and award-winning customer service across South Wales and the Southwest. Wessex Garages are a forward-thinking organisation, representing some of the most exciting brands in the current market. And they have also responded to the pandemic by choosing innovation and embracing the new digital space.

It is, therefore, no surprise that an organisation such as this has decided to partner with [M]enable, the global movement headed up by Stephen J. Whitton, working with organisations within the automotive industry to change attitudes towards mental health.

There is no better time to have set up such an initiative. The pandemic has thrown up issues for many of us, both personal and professional, presenting employment uncertainties and emotional struggles.

As the automotive industry is dominated by men, [M]enable originally only targeted men’s mental health. In Stephen Whitton’s words, ‘I’ve been around in the motor industry for 35 years, and I felt I couldn’t be the only guy of a certain age who’s had issues and put a bit of a lid on them,’. And so [M]enable was born. They set out to dispel the negative connotations that men should be immune to feeling day-to-day anxieties that interfere with everyday productivity and general well-being. However, the brand has evolved to be more inclusive. The M now stands for mental health across the sector. As Stephen puts it, it is not just men of a certain age, but men and women of all ages.

[M]enable work with leadership teams and individuals, helping organisations realign their culture and attitudes. So, businesses can stay afloat in our rapidly changing and competitive world. They provide workshops, coaching and guidance, calling upon their movement’s membership of ambassadors, raising awareness of the challenges of mental health.

Stephen also mentions that because mental health is not visible, it often goes unnoticed. How your colleagues or boss may feel is difficult to detect, and you may have no clue what to look out for, all too well reflected by Stephen’s personal experience. He recalls ‘many have seen me host awards ceremonies and large conferences and been in awe of the confidence and ease with which I hold an audience – but that was the ‘me’ I portrayed to the outside world!’

[M]enable focus their time on raising awareness of the importance of fostering a working environment of collaboration, empathy and understanding. So that everyone within the workforce can perform to the best of their ability. Because, as cliched as it may sound, a happy and strong team is the lifeblood of overall business success. And as the [M]enable philosophy goes, positive employee outcomes = positive customer outcomes = positive business outcomes. A simple and important idea. But a complicated outcome to achieve, very much worth striving for.

Chris Wiseman, managing director of Wessex Garages, adds that he is ‘delighted to be a part of this initiative. And looking forward to promoting well-being through the business and across the sector.’