READING Borough Council has signed an employer pledge with Time to Change, the growing social movement which supports people to open up to mental health problems.
Time to Change is a campaign to change perceptions about mental health, led by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness. The aim is to create a positive shift in public attitudes towards mental health and the campaign supports communities, schools and workplaces to open up and talk about mental health.
The signing ceremony took place at the Health and Wellbeing Board on 6 October, where Councillors 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. By signing, the Council is committing to change attitudes to mental health in the workplace.
Councillor Graeme Hoskin, Reading’s Lead Councillor for Health and Mental Health Champion, said:
“At some point in our lives, we will all be susceptible to experiencing a mental health issue. Therefore, it is important that we remove the stigma around mental health to ensure that it is seen on the same level as physical conditions.
“This pledge is an important step in helping to change attitudes to mental health in the workplace and promoting good mental wellbeing.”
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 Reading Borough 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.”
Notes to Editors
Time to Change
Time to Change is funded by the Department of Health, Comic Relief and the Big Lottery 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.
Over 450 organisations that have already 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.
For more information go to http://www.time-to-change.org.uk.
Department of Health
On 2 February 2011 the Department of Health launched No health without mental health, a cross-government mental health outcomes strategy for people of all ages which has the twin aims of keeping people well and improving their mental health and, when people are not well, improving their outcomes through high-quality services.
The strategy is based on six shared objectives, developed with partners from across the mental health sector, and focuses on recovery and the reduction of stigma and discrimination as overarching themes.
To reduce the stigma faced by people with mental health problems, the Department has been supporting Time to Change, the anti-stigma campaign run by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, since 2011.
Comic Relief is committed to supporting people living with mental health problems. The projects Comic Relief funds ensure people with mental health problems get their voices heard in the decisions that affect their lives and get the help they need to recover. Comic Relief also helps people to promote their rights and reduce the stigma and discrimination they face so that they feel more included in society. The funding of Time to Change represents Comic Relief’s largest UK grant and is part of the organisation’s long standing commitment to this issue. For more information go to http://www.comicrelief.com
Big Lottery Fund
Big Lottery Fund supported the first phase of Time to Change with funding of over £20million, and in 2013 awarded the programme a further £3.6m from its Well-being programme to build on its success and work with targeted communities. Big Lottery Fund also supported the campaign’s roll out across Wales. They will be providing a further £1.1m to support the Time to Change campaign in 2015-16.
The Big Lottery Fund supports the aspirations of people who want to make life better for their communities across the UK. We are responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by the National Lottery and invest over £650 million a year in projects big and small in health, education, environment and charitable purposes.
Since June 2004 we have awarded over £6.5billion to projects that make a difference to people and communities in need, from early years intervention to commemorative travel funding for World War Two veterans.
Since the National Lottery began in 1994, £33 billion has been raised and more than 450,000 grants awarded.