I’m a few weeks into my new role of Engagement Manager for Time to Change Wales and I’m really enjoying the willingness and enthusiasm of organisations wanting to sign the organisational pledge to support their employees' mental health and wellbeing by addressing mental health stigma and discrimination in the workplace.
We already have a plethora of organisations across the public, private, third sectors and a few SMEs who have signed the pledge, thanks to all the hard work of my predecessors. However we still want more organisations across the whole of Wales to engage and show their commitment to the campaign. There’s a long way to go to change attitudes and behaviours around mental health in the workplace and society more widely.
It’s been interesting over the last few weeks alone seeing an increase in the number of articles in the media about Workplace Wellbeing including whether it’s ok to request a mental health day from your employer and how to ask for one and that 1/3 of employees are dealing with anxiety, depression or stress.
Pobl Group committed to tackling mental health stigma in July.
The Time to Change Wales campaign is all about breaking down the stigma and discrimination within organisations to be able to support good mental health and reduce absenteeism – this can be achieved simply by allowing employees to have open and honest conversation about mental health in a supportive work environment which allows them to know that it's OK to have a bad day and by creating a supportive environment, employees may more likely feel OK to stay at work.
Two of our Time to Change Wales organisations have informed us that they are running Wellbeing events in July as part of their monthly or annual health and wellbeing strategy to support employee’s wellness at work. This is well before the official World Mental Health Day on 10th October with a focus on Mental Health in the Workplace and Health and Wellbeing Week scheduled for 23th-27th October this year. October is certainly going to be a busy month for mental health awareness but by all means you can schedule in Workplace Wellbeing events every week or month by holding mini events like buying treats, ten minute mindfulness sessions or tea and talk events.
In addition to organisational engagement my role also encompasses the Young People’s Programme to change the attitudes and behaviours of the next generation towards mental health. You may have seen that we recently launched the Young People’s Programme in schools in South Wales and are expanding this to engage with schools in North and Mid Wales in the new academic year. As part of this campaign aimed at young people we’ll be looking to work with youth focussed organisations and get them to sign the TTCW pledge.
There’s lots more engagement work to do and I’m sure I’ll be kept very busy – I look forward to meet many of our pledged organisations in my new role.
If you would like to write a blog post about your experiences of stigma or related issues, email firstname.lastname@example.org