Tom Keya is the founder of Soulh Tech, which offers a package of solutions to improve the mental and physical health of employees in the workplace.
In addition to Soulh tech software that tracks employee mental health issues, the company offers mental health supplements that are an integral part of its stress management programme.
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Tackling mental health issues in the workplace
Tom Keya is a major supporter of the need for work in this sector. His own well-being and mental health suffered while working within professional services. Tom Keya says: “There is an urgent need for better mental health support in the workplace.
Within some sectors, including law firms, there is immense pressure on employees to keep going, with a strong emphasis on targets and hours worked.
“My mental health issues resulted in me needing to step back from my job and take some time out for both my mental and physical health. I’d like to get to a place where mental health support is entrenched within every workplace and business leader understand its importance.”
The mental and physical health of every employee is important
Tom Keya works tirelessly to raise awareness of the importance of employee mental health and regularly writes for various online publications about this subject.
After his personal experiences with mental health problems forced him to change the way he worked, he began to find solutions to the problem of managing employee health in the workplace.
As well as his work to raise awareness of the issue with like-minded business leaders, Tom Keya launched Soulh. A wellness business with a very specific mission – to improve the mental and physical health of employees through the education of business leaders and by providing supplements to boost the emotional well-being of employees, Soulh shows just how much of a passionate supporter of mental well-being in the workplace Tom is.
Burnout leads to long-term problems for the employer
“As a business leader and business development consultant, I have direct experience of just how much damage poor mental health can do to individual employees and to organisations as a whole,” says Tom Keya.
“I think it’s fair to say that there are some sectors that are particularly threatened by employee burnout leading to mental health issues. For example, legal life brings with it enormous pressure and often leads employees to focus purely on strategic work to the detriment of everything else.
“We then need to factor in the impact of the global pandemic and remote working in some sectors. For many these increased feelings of isolation and led to poor stress management techniques being utilised.
There is a need for systemic change at every level to encourage employees to look after their mental health, but also to work with business leaders to gain a better understanding of these very real problems.”
Remote working has increased mental health issues in the workplace
Tom Keya believes that the impact of COVID-19 has increased the urgent need to ensure every employee is supported in dealing with stress and mental health.
“When the pandemic began there was a shift towards working remotely. This affected everyone within certain sectors, from lawyers to support staff and business leaders themselves,” says Tom Keya.
“It was only after the dust started to settle on a new way of working that this shift’s impact across the board was felt. Awareness of the urgent need for increased support for employee well-being began to grow.
“Many different sectors had the same problems with how to track, manage and counteract stress in the workplace, particularly with many finding the whole team working from different locations. The catastrophic effects this had on work culture for some are still being felt.”
A holistic approach is vital
Research shows that while some employees found remote working improved health in the workplace, many found it detrimental to their mental health.
And whether a workplace has returned to in-office work or is now running a hybrid or fully remote system, ensuring the mental health of employees is supported should be the responsibility of every employer.
Tom says: “It’s important that employers take a holistic approach to employee wellbeing. This firstly – and most importantly – means taking responsibility for mental and physical health in the workplace. Digital solutions to tracking health in the workplace should be combined with other ways to support well-being.
“I believe that setting aside time during the day for team sports and exercise is a hugely important way to support the mental health of employees. Furthermore, as a founder of the south, I’ve learned much about the way supplements can further support the mental health of employees.
By taking an approach that incorporates all of these different elements, business leaders will be best placed to support their teams – regardless of their sector.”
The science supports supplements for mental health
Much of Tom’s day-to-day work encompasses business development, philanthropic and strategic work around mental health and sharing best practices about employee wellness. Tom regularly communicates with business development leaders and managers and with online publications on mental health, for example.
“I regularly communicate with like-minded leaders on mental health and several other topics connected with the kind of support we can offer in the workplace,” explains Tom. “There is often resistance to some of the more innovative solutions, such as supplements.
Perhaps there is scepticism regarding the efficacy of supplements for mental health, for example. By sharing our insight from Soulh, we are able to provide the scientific backing for these kinds of tools.”
In September 2019, the world’s largest evidence review on nutritional supplements for mental health showed that evidence is strong for certain supplements positively impacting mental health. Specifically, it shows:
- There is strong evidence that supplements containing omega 3 can be used as an ‘add-on’ to treatment for depression in order to reduce symptoms in measurable ways.
- The amino acid N-acetylcysteine is proven to be a useful add-on for treating various mood disorders.
This research used data from a vast number of studies that have been conducted around the world. Collectively the data from 10,000 people were used in the studies.
An organisation’s future depends on employees feeling supported
For Tom, business development is about much more than workplace and impact investment. It’s about the people. He says: “Whether you’re a business leader with teams of lawyers or a firm of wealth managers, and whether your staff are young people or experienced professionals, they all have one thing in common.
“They are all vulnerable to the stresses and strains of working within the modern world. My work encompasses business development consultancy, and I get to see the good, the bad and the ugly across multiple sectors.
“Added to my own personal experience of burnout and the mental health fallout that ensued, I passionately believe that supporting employee mental health is one of the most important steps employers can take to a bright future.
“Employees who feel supported in this way are more likely to have the stamina to continue providing employers with high-quality work. They’re less likely to burn out and hit a wall, and they’re far more likely to want to invest themselves in the business they’re working for. Employers taking control of the mental health of their employees is a win/win scenario.”
To find out more about Tom Keya, his personal experiences with mental health burnout and Soulh Tech, click here.