Time to Change Wales, the first national campaign to end mental health stigma and discrimination in Wales, launched an online account exclusively for employers where they can access the toolkit which will enable them to sign the Time to Change Wales pledge. 

Tom Roberts, Compliance and HR Director for Niche said: “We will be signing the pledge as a commitment to our colleagues of the steps that we’re taking to ensure that employee mental wellbeing is at the forefront of our minds. This has become increasingly more relevant as of late due to the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning that we have over 50 colleagues working from home, adapting to a new way of working and juggling childcare responsibilities.

Our commitment towards mental health awareness starts at the very top of the business. All of our senior management team colleagues were the first to undergo mental health awareness training earlier this year, and we’re planning to have our team of Employee Champions to go through the same procedure. Our Board meet up on a weekly basis to discuss our responsibilities to our colleagues and how we can achieve our targets in our Time to Change Wales action plan.”

The Time to Change Wales action plan is based on the core standards recommended by the Thriving at Work report released in 2017, which are drawn from best practice and available evidence base. 

On organising social events and promoting mental health wellbeing, Tom went on to say, “We have an internal scheme called Your Niche, which provides a wealth of resources to our colleagues online such as tips for managing stress and anxiety and a Wellness Action Plan. It also provides information on our working from home policy which has recently been implemented due to the COVID-19 restrictions. 

We do a lot as a company to look after everyone’s mental wellbeing and our social events play a huge part in this. Earlier this year, we took 30+ colleagues bowling and laser tagging, and since the COVID-19 lockdown we’ve been arranging virtual quizzes and happy hour hang outs in our ‘virtual pub’ with many more activities planned in the coming weeks.

Our team of Employee Champions are always available for colleagues to talk about any mental health concerns they may have, and we plan to run regular ‘Lunch & Learn’ sessions on various different topics, including mental health and wellbeing.”

The Time to Change Wales pledge is a public declaration that an organisation takes to tackle mental health stigma and discrimination in the workplace. It isn’t a quality mark, accreditation or endorsement. There is no test or application. Employers just have to commit to taking actions that are realistic and right for their staff which will lead to a reduction in stigma and discrimination within the organisation. 

The Time to Change Wales campaign has close to 200 organisations in Wales that have pledged to end mental health stigma and discrimination in the workplace, which roughly represents 300,000 employees in Wales.

Lowri Wyn Jones, Programme Manager for Time to Change Wales said: “Niche is an excellent example of an organisation that’s committed to ending mental health stigma and discrimination in the workplace. We have worked with Niche to develop a comprehensive action plan to sit at the heart of their pledge so that practical steps are taken to tackle stigma at every level of the organisation.

Mental health problems are the leading causes of sickness absence in the workplace, with 1 in 6 workers experiencing symptoms of depression, stress or anxiety. The cost of mental health problems in Wales is estimated at £7.2 billion a year in loss of output, healthcare bills and social benefits; which is why there is both a strong moral and business case to step up and create more mentally healthy workplaces.”

Hundreds of organisations are already stepping up to challenge mental health stigma. Bringing the Time to Change Wales campaign to your workplace is a great way to get started. Sign up to our new Employer Account today and develop your wellbeing strategy to support your colleagues and to end mental health stigma and discrimination in the workplace. 

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