Bath and North East Somerset Council today joined thousands of other employers across the country in committing to encourage all of us to talk about mental health issues.
Today is Time to Talk Day and the council has resigned it’s Time to Change Employer’s pledge, which it first signed in 2017, to help tackle the stigma often associated with mental health issues.
Councillor Rob Appleyard, cabinet member for Adult Services, said: “Only about half our community feel comfortable talking about mental health issues in the workplace. We need to become a more compassionate and open workplace where all of us feel confident talking about these matters. The Time to Change campaign encourages an open and inclusive culture and we hope more employers within our community will support the campaign by signing up to the employer’s pledge.”
Time to Change recognises the increased pressures and welcomes the comprehensive action plan that will draw resources together to support staff across all our service areas, some of the key highlights are:
- Action to support staff groups who may be at higher risk of stigma and discrimination
- Testing Wellness Action plans; (a tool to share what keeps us well at work and when and why we might become unwell)
- Working with partners and our ever-growing network of health champions to create a supportive environment so people can be physically active and eat healthily
- Manage any potential stressors such as money worries or job changes.
- Providing welfare support for our apprentices and offering training in healthy conversations for all staff.
Karen Shaw, Time to Change Employer Engagement Manager “It is really refreshing to see a council review its commitment to the Time to Change Employer Pledge having originally signed in 2017. By re-signing the Employer Pledge today, Bath &North East Somerset Council is actively creating an environment in which its employees can feel comfortable talking about their mental health and know that the council places mental health support as a priority. Too many people in the workplace feel unable to speak to their colleagues or managers about their mental health for fear of prejudice or discrimination. and we at Time to Change are really pleased to see the council continuing to open up the conversation around mental health.”
Mental health is an important issue, one in four people in England experience a mental health problem and national evidence shows that of these almost all nine out of ten say they experience stigma which can be as bad as the problem itself.
The Time to Change action plan was redeveloped in 2019 to meet the Stevenson Farmer Thriving at Work Standards. Promoting an open culture around mental health and challenging stigma is key to addressing poor mental health at work and the effect this has on the UK workforce and economy
Mental health in the workplace is something employers can no longer ignore. Poor mental health now costs UK employers between £33 billion and £42 billion a year and is the leading cause of sickness absence, costing an average of £1,035 per employee per year. A further 74 billion each year is lost in terms of lost output, employer costs and NHS costs as a result of poor mental health.
Hannah Roper, from Bath Mind, said: “The Time to Change Employers Pledge is a simple but effective way to demonstrate that your employees’ mental health and wellbeing matters and it’s a priority for your organisation. It is a perfect way to kick start your commitment to a wellbeing strategy, implement best-practice interventions and policy or a great compliment to any wellbeing initiatives you already have in place. The pledge is free to sign and Time to Change offer fantastic resources and support therefore there’s no reason why your organisation shouldn’t sign up today.”