Nathan Fox on mental health and consulting during the pandemic

30 September 2020 Consultancy.uk

The unprecedented pandemic and recession of 2020 has majorly impacted young workers across the consulting industry. In order to highlight how professionals in the sector have been coping, Young Management Consultancies Association member and BearingPoint consultant Nathan Fox spoke to Consultancy.uk.

Young people have been especially impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. With spiralling youth unemployment, and many young people left increasingly isolated amid the UK’s social distancing measures, a survey by Young Minds recently found that 80% of respondents felt the coronavirus pandemic had made their mental health worse.

Young consultants are no exception to that, and according to Young MCA (a community of the the Management Consultancies Association) member Nathan Fox, it is important that firms ensure they support their younger staff through the crisis.

Nathan Fox on mental health and consulting during the pandemic

Having obtained a Law degree from Newcastle University, Fox initially worked in the legal sector, before taking up a role at PwC within consulting. Two years later, he joined BearingPoint’s RegTech business. Beginning in March 2019, he worked in the firm’s RegTech business and while Fox had a background in Financial Services and Regulation, the technology and software side of the business was entirely new to him – leaving him to address a steep learning curve in the beginning, and leading his mental health to suffer.

Fox explained, “It was something I had never experienced before so I was not entirely sure how to manage it in the beginning. After speaking to family, various colleagues and medical professionals, I opened about how I was feeling and what I was going through. I was stunned by how much support there is within the industry and how many people are going through similar issues. I was very lucky to have such a supportive network of people around me.”

While BearingPoint had supported Fox well, however, the outbreak of Covid-19 this year meant the firm – like all non-essential UK businesses – had to operate remotely. Fox admitted that “the prospect of lockdown was initially worrying for me,” as he worried it might leave him exposed or isolated from the colleagues who had helped him through earlier struggles with mental health.

“From an industry perspective, we were watching unprecedented pandemonium unfold across the global financial system,” Fox recalled. “Each day, a new headline presented itself about financial chaos and mass unemployment. Of course, this led to the worry that client projects could be postponed or even cancelled.”

Fortunately, Fox has managed to retain contact with his colleagues, as well as receiving plenty of work to keep his mind occupied amid the unfolding pandemic and recession. As financial institutions have a key role to play in minimising the economic impact of the pandemic, in addition to his usual tasks Fox has been providing analysis of the Capital Requirements Regulation ‘Quick Fix’ package to clients, and supporting BearingPoint’s International Development Team ensuring they are kept well informed during the current period of regulatory change. He has also decided to help others at the firm with their mental health.

Fox concluded, “As young male professional, it has become a personal goal of mine to start more conversations within the consulting industry around the issue of mental health… Last month, I hosted two virtual mental health workshops, one in London and one for the global business where I discussed my own struggles with mental health and some of the things I learned during this challenging period. It is my hope that this will be of benefit to somebody else who is going through the same struggles. This is particularly relevant to consulting given the amount of time we spend working to deadlines, away from our families and friends.”


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