Aim to bring mental health into the open

zainah khan: The entrepreneur launched the Chakra service to help show employers the monetary value of their staffs mental well-being and to understand the impact on their business. Picture: Vicky Matthers Leeds Beckett University
zainah khan: The entrepreneur launched the Chakra service to help show employers the monetary value of their staffs mental well-being and to understand the impact on their business. Picture: Vicky Matthers Leeds Beckett University
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Mental health can easily be overlooked by businesses due to the pressure the firms are under to get on with their everyday work, according to a psychotherapist.

Zainah Khan, who has launched Chakra Corporate Mental Strength, says that bosses avoid having conversations about mental well-being because they don’t know enough about it.

Ms Khan told The Yorkshire Post: “It’s easy to overlook mental health in business because there’s so much pressure all the time on people to get on with what they need to do.”

She added: “There’s a lot of stigma around mental health so it’s a conversation that people don’t look forward to having anyway.”

Ms Khan, who recently completed a postgraduate diploma in counselling and psychotherapy at Leeds Beckett University, is looking to help firms, in particular in the finance and legal sectors, by running mental strength programmes.

The 27-year-old wants to show employers the monetary value of their staff’s mental well-being.

She said: “It’s important for them to understand the impact that it’s having on their business.

“For example sickness absences as a result of employees being too stressed or just feeling that they can’t come into the workplace because of any mental health issues they might be experiencing is rising and it costs billions; about £26bn every year to the economy, just from people taking off that sick leave.

“When actually if the workplace was more comfortable and healthier for that employee, they would be able to work.”

Ms Khan will be focusing her mental strength training programme on the legal and finance sectors because of the highly-competitive nature of those industries.

“I’ve found that finance and law are two of the areas where stress is experienced on a high level by the majority of staff,” she said.

Ms Khan said: “It’s not about opening up a can of worms and getting everyone to worry about mental health. It’s giving them the tools and skills to be able to function effectively and give 100 per cent while they are in the workplace.”

Chakra was launched over six weeks ago by Ms Khan and she has already secured her first three contracts.

“Everybody that I’ve approached with this so far has accepted the service. I’m feeling really optimistic about it and feeling like it could really grow,” Ms Khan said.

The Bradford-born psychotherapist will initially be focusing on Leeds before rolling out her service Yorkshire-wide and eventually across the country.

Her ultimate goal is to establish a base in London because “there’s so much of an office culture there”.

Currently, it’s just Ms Khan delivering the tailored programmes but as the business grows the entrepreneur is planning on drawing on an associate staff model.

As well as delivering group sessions Ms Khan will be looking to roll-out one-to-one sessions for employees.

Prior to launching Chakra Ms Khan worked in a domestic violence unit and with victim support. The experience made her want to be a counsellor.

With Chakra she delivers a training programme tailored for the nature of the company and Ms Khan offers a range of different programmes for firms to choose from.

“It includes things like cognitive behavioural therapy, neuro linguistic programming, mindfulness meditation, expressive arts, emotional intelligence,” she said.

Recently, Ms Khan won a £5,000 business advantage award from Lupton Fawcett Denison Till. She says the award helped “massively”.

Chakra can help staff

Chakra is a Sanskrit term and means energy point, says Ms Khan.

“It’s used a lot in the yoga and meditation arenas,” she said.

Ms Khan’s parents are originally from India and the company logo, a segmented wheel, represented the term.

Ms Khan said:“We spend so much of our time at work, every single day of the week.

“It needs to be a place that’s comfortable and healthy for us to be in and that’s something that I’m really passionate about and really interested in.

“So I felt like I should take some action and do something. That’s where my business launched from.”