“Too often businesses are seen as a machine for profit and the individual is overlooked” Craig Fearn, Global wellbeing sustainability expert

After leaving a career he loved and learning how to manage his own mental health following a health diagnosis that forced a significant life change, Craig Fearn forged a path as a wellbeing advisor and corporate stress management expert. Today, Craig is a global wellbeing sustainability expert and the wellbeing ambassador for IoD South West. He believes it’s time for organisations to champion mental health across the whole business.

I want to break the stigma and encourage business leaders to include wellbeing management at board level because I see first-hand the benefits when businesses embrace this shift in attitude. As a global wellbeing sustainability expert, I offer 1:1 support and conduct business reviews to identify areas to improve employee wellbeing. Too often businesses are seen as a machine for profit and the individual is overlooked.

I struggled with my mental health from a young age. This was exacerbated after I was diagnosed with chronic headaches and told by the banking firm I worked for that I either quit, or be managed out on ill health. I quickly hit rock bottom, but after working hard through counselling I felt myself begin to get stronger.

I quit work to go to university to study forensic psychology, but after a short time teaching, I learned that my passion was for pastoral care. I set up Lighthouse Mentoring to provide university students with mental health support. To this day, I consider supporting those students as some of my most rewarding work.

One day, I received an offer from a former student, requesting I apply my techniques to his business, where stress was high and business performance wasn’t matching expectations. It was a challenge to adapt a one-to-one service but, six months later, I had fine-tuned an effective model. He saw his business costs reduce along with employee stress levels.

Today, I work as a mental wellbeing advisor around the world including Soho House, Global Switch and the IoD. I identify areas that could be negatively affecting wellbeing and work with them to implement strategic solutions.

Working with the IoD allows me to educate directors on the importance of looking after their own mental wellbeing and that of their employees. Historically, directors and senior leaders haven’t taken this topic seriously, but the pandemic has confronted us with a decline in mental health and a new way of working, forcing us all to act. My mission as an ambassador is to encourage business leaders to include a wellbeing director on their boards to proactively manage a positive culture.

Token gestures are just not sufficient – it’s no longer acceptable to just buy your employees pizza Fridays or organise a yoga class and say you’ve looked after their wellbeing. In order to engage the next generation of leaders and attract the best talent, directors must treat wellbeing as a top priority, for everyone across the board from the C-suite to the shop floor.

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