Wyre Forest District Council has signed an employer pledge with Time to Change, the growing social movement run by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, which supports people to open up to mental health problems. By signing, Wyre Forest District Council is committing to change the way we all think and act about mental health in the workplace.
Councillor Marcus Hart, the Leader of the Council and Ian Miller, Chief Executive pledged their support to Time to Change with an action plan of activity that will help to break the silence that surrounds mental health in the workplace.
Councillor Marcus Hart said: “The health and wellbeing of all our employees is important to us. Mental health is something we all need to look after and talk about more, especially in the workplace. It’s something we’ve been working on here at Wyre Forest District Council.”
Chief Executive Ian Miller said: “I’m really pleased we’ve signed up to the Time to Change Pledge. It demonstrates our clear commitment to our colleagues, creating an open, honest and supportive environment to help end the stigma around talking about mental health.”
Wyre Forest District Council joins the wide movement of over 450 organisations that have signed up to the Time to Change pledge, including E.ON, British Gas, Ernst & Young, Transport for London, Royal Mail, Barclays, Shell, Pepsico, the Church of England, Sunday Mirror, Marks and Spencer, and many NHS trusts, universities and local authorities.
The cost of poor mental health to UK employers has been estimated to be between £33 billion and £42 billion, according to the Thriving at Work Report published in 2017 and stigma around workplace mental health remains a key issue.
In a survey of UK adults undertaken by Time to Change in 2009, 56% said they would not hire someone with depression even if they were the best candidate for the job. Whilst 35% of people in the British Social Attitudes Survey (2017) think they would be less likely to get promoted if they had depression.
Jo Loughran, Interim Director of Time to Change, said:
“We know it can be hard to talk about mental health, which is why we’re supporting employers to open up; to talk and to listen. Too many people with mental health problems are made to feel isolated, ashamed and worthless, but with the right support, those of us with mental health problems can recover and have equal opportunities in all areas of life. Everyone’s attitude makes a difference and it’s fantastic to see organisations like Wyre Forest District Council taking the lead.”
“Many leading employers have found that making a strategic commitment to the mental wellbeing of their workforce not only benefits their staff but also their bottom-line, improving productivity and staff retention. With one in six British workers experiencing mental illness it's time for businesses to make a change and start creating more mentally healthy workplaces."
Time to Change is funded by the Department of Health, Comic Relief and the National Lottery Community Fund. Set up to create a positive shift in public attitudes towards mental health problems, Time to Change supports communities, schools and workplaces to open up to mental health problems; to talk and to listen.