Mental Health in a Changing World

Written by Dave Robson on Wednesday October 10, 2018

October 10 2018 is World Mental Health Day. One of the themes this year is ‘mental health in a changing world’. I took the opportunity to write this piece as this is something that resonates with me – particularly on a professional level.


The quote 'the only constant is change' is spot on – and particularly in the world of compliance. Technology, risk ownership, personal liability, the conduct agenda, the external framework, resourcing, budgets… always evolving, always changing. The modern compliance professional is at the centre of all this.


Which is great. But can be a double-edged sword.


There is a lot depending on you and many, many demands on your time – from a variety of stakeholders. From a junior role up to a Group Head of Compliance/Financial Crime, the decisions you make have tremendous impact on your firm, your colleagues, your customers… and can lead to wider ramifications if they are in some way not correct.


All of which can precipitate a lot of pressure and stress.


World Mental Health Day


Skills of a Compliance Officer


This is an evergreen subject. Influencing, listening, communicating… but having thought about it for a while, and because of writing for Mental Health day, another sprang to mind.




I’m not sure if that seems obvious, or if people out there in our compliance community will perhaps say ‘I’ve never looked at it that way’. But compliance people must be resilient. In the modern world of compliance, the opportunities are also often challenges. Yes, compliance is now at the heart of the business – but that doesn’t mean it’s all plain sailing. Regulator/monitor visits, skilled persons, media interest, business conflicts, policy, process, report writing, advising… and all these on top of the things I listed earlier.


Compliance isn’t for the faint hearted. I think you need a strong dose of resilience to stand up for what is right and make the brave decisions. When the challenges around you change daily, you need that anchor, that inner strength. You need to be able to take the rough with the smooth (and understand that sometimes the smooth will be in short supply).


But, even then, sometimes it can feel overwhelming. It has done for me in the past.


It’s good to talk


As you’d imagine, I’m in Canary Wharf quite often, visiting customers. It was only recently I noticed the number of posters referring to mental health. The fact this is highlighted is great. But the fact they are needed I guess indicates that there are underlying issues to be addressed.


Maybe this is where the compliance community has an advantage.


We talk about community a lot. The ICA community is made up of thousands of people from our profession. I know that many groups who have been through workshops together stay in touch. Your LinkedIn network is another community.


Lots of people with resilience equals lots of resilience. So when you feel like yours is perhaps creaking a little in the face of the next wave of change, talk to someone about it. They might have some to spare. This doesn’t have to be formal. Have a chat, send an email, get some advice. Maybe go for a coffee.


Resilience doesn’t necessarily mean dealing with change on your own. It can mean understanding how to deal with change and knowing who can help you. Lean on your network where you can. They can do the same with you.


The Big Compliance Conversation


You’ll probably have see us using the banner ‘the Big Compliance Conversation’ at the moment – ICA’s worldwide initiative to get the global compliance community talking about the issues of today and tomorrow:  technical content, hot topics, interesting insight and views.


But maybe October 10 is the day you’ll have the most important #BigCompConvo of all – when you ask someone “how are you getting on…?”



This article forms part of the #BigCompConvo - Join us as we explore and debate the latest challenges and issues facing you and regulatory and financial crime compliance professionals all over the world. If you’d like to contribute an article as part of the Big Compliance Conversation get in touch with us at

Big Compliance Conversation


Please leave a comment

You can leave the name empty should you wish to remain Anonymous.

You are replying to post:



Email *

Comment *

Search posts

View posts by Author