Co-ops and mental health in Mental Health Awareness Week

This week, 13th to 19th May, is Mental Health Awareness Week

More and more conversations are being had about Mental Health, in homes, organisations and across the nation. A broader understanding of what’s needed for good mental health is – thankfully – becoming more widespread. You may have heard that some of the key factors for good mental health are Autonomy and Agency.

Autonomy – knowing we have the right to make choices about our lives

Agency – having the capacity to act on those choices, and take our life in the direction we want

On the flip side, it’s understood that a lack of these things can contribute to poor mental health.

Work is a big part of life for many of us, and the quality of our work is critical. In 2022, Co-operatives UK published a report called Offering Hope. Updated in 2023, this report, ‘finds that mental health, job security, career prospects, a lack of control over working lives and climate change are major causes of stress in young people.’. It also finds that co-operatives, due to the very nature of their structures, and the values they are based on, can support improved mental health outcomes. In the report, Steph Rutherford of Village Greens is quoted as saying, “Every day I go into work I come out feeling better, which I know is incredibly rare; knowing you’ve got a support network around you.”

This Mental Health Week we are celebrating the good work and good working environments created by co-operatives and community owned businesses – those we work with, and those we don’t. Co-operatives offer hope, and a better way, and we are proud to be part of supporting that change.