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Signing the Pledge - Pobl

written by Bethan Aubrey 31/07/2017

We are Pobl, a Group of companies offering homes, care and support that make a difference to people's lives. With just over 2500 employees, it's safe to say we're a diverse bunch of enthusiastic difference makers, working across South Wales and in some parts of England in a variety of roles.

Across Pobl there are staff and customers experiencing mental health problems first hand. We want our Pobl people to feel well supported and able to speak openly about mental health without fear of stigma or discrimination. We committed to the Time to Change Wales pledge to reinforce just how important this is to us.

So last week on a sunny day in Swansea, our Managing Director of Care and Support, Richard Davies, put pen to pledge board and permanently marked our commitment, stating that "Pobl is pleased to join with Time to Change Wales to make a public commitment to ending stigma around mental health. Our values are at the heart of all we do in Pobl and we want to change the way we think and act about mental health".

Pobl signing the Time to Change Wales Organisational Pledge (from left to right - Richard Davies, Managing Director of Care and Support; Amanda Davies, Group Chief Executive; Natasha Thomas, Time to Change Wales Champion; Michael Harvey, Time to Change Wales Development Lead)

Time to Change Wales champion Natasha spoke openly about her experience of mental health problems and the stigma she faced. Passionately affirming that people with mental health illness can and will recover, and that good support from friends, family and in the workplace can make a massive difference.

It was an inspiring reminder of why the Time to Change Wales pledge is so important and why signing the pledge is actually just the start. It's what happens next that counts!

"Our values are at the heart of all we do in Pobl and we want to change the way we think and act about mental health."

There's lots to do as we tackle mental health stigma and over the coming weeks and months we'll be working with staff across Pobl to carry out our commitment.

We're kicking off our pledge journey with a mental health survey, asking our Pobl people about their experiences of mental health problems, how supported they feel and how open they can be about their experiences. This survey also asks staff to put their names forward to be trained as employee champions, helping to run events, review policies, give talks and more.

Over the coming year we'll be giving all line managers mental health training, so that they feel comfortable and well equipped to support their teams and have open conversations.

With Pobl staff working in a large number of locations, we'll be putting our intranet to good use. Sharing Time to Change Wales updates, blog posts, personal experiences and asking staff for feedback and ideas.

So as we begin our journey we're clear that our Pobl pledge is for all our Pobl people, and we're looking forward to what the next year holds!

If you would like to write a blog post about your experiences of stigma or related issues, email info@timetochangewales.org.uk

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