Employers make pledge on World Mental Health Day

On World Mental Health Day (Wednesday 10 October) some of the country’s major employers including the Department of Health, Pepsico, Shell, Lloyds Banking Group and Accenture are pledging to support Time to Change, England’s biggest mental health anti-stigma programme, and committing to tackle stigma and discrimination in the workplace.

Time to Change, which is run by the mental health charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, is at the forefront of a growing movement to tackle the stigma and discrimination that people with mental health problems face, and has seen organisations from all sectors sign up to play their part. The pledge is an ambition that organisations sign up to, to show that they want to do more to tackle stigma and improve staff wellbeing.

The move by these influential organisations comes following other milestones which have seen mental health move higher on the public agenda including Channel 4’s mental health season 4 Goes Mad and a number of MPs speaking of their experiences of mental illness in Parliament this summer.

A wide range of organisations have already signed up to the Time to Change pledge, including Channel 4, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the FA, the Premier League, universities, BT, British Gas, Eon, NHS Trusts, Primary Care Trusts, local authorities, Transport for London, Citizen’s Advice, and police forces.

Sue Baker, Director of Time to Change, said:

“It is great to see some of our most high profile employers making this commitment to tackle stigma and discrimination on World Mental Health Day. Our research has shown that 67 per cent of people said the fear of discrimination has stopped them telling an employer or potential employer about their mental health problem. Fifty per cent said they would be fearful of even applying for a job in the first place. By signing our pledge these employers are proactively showing that they are taking steps to make the workplace more open about mental health."

Care Services Minister Norman Lamb MP said:

“We need to change the way we think about Mental Health problems and by signing up to the Time to Change pledge, we are able to show our support to stopping the discrimination people face at work due to their condition.

“This is just one small step in the right direction and we fully support any action taken that can bring about a change in the way we as a society see people with mental health problems.”

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said:

“Good mental health should never be taken for granted. Without it, we suffer just as much as we do with physical health problems.

“It’s time we turned more of our attention to helping people with mental health problems. This year, the focus of the day is on depression. And for good reason. It’s a serious condition that can hamper your ability to do a regular job, affect your relationships and be totally debilitating for those with long-term depression.

“We have some outstanding NHS services in this country providing revolutionary treatments. We have fantastic charities who campaign every day to raise the profile of mental health and battle the stigma that sadly still exists. The coalition Government has put mental health much higher up the agenda and I’m proud of the progress we have made to change things. We’re investing £400 million in psychological and talking therapies which is a very significant expansion of the services available. More than half a million people were helped by these services last year. But with roughly 25 per cent of the population experiencing mental ill health in their lifetime, we know we have much more work to do."

Ends/

For more information please contact Hayley Richardson, Time to Change Senior Media Officer, on h.richardson@time-to-change.org.uk or 0208 2152 358/ 07789 721 966

Notes to Editors

Time to Change: Time to Change is England's most ambitious programme to end the stigma and discrimination faced by people with mental health problems. The programme is run by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, and funded by the Department of Health and Comic Relief.

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 help deliver the objective to reduce the stigma faced by people with mental health problems, in 2011 the Department agreed to support Time to Change, the anti-stigma campaign run by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness. The Department of Health is providing the campaign with up to £16 million of funding together with a further £4 million from Comic Relief. This funding will help Time to Change continue their work until March 2015.

Comic Relief: 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 £4 million grant to Time to Change is the second time the charity has awarded Time to Change its largest UK grant and is part of Comic Relief's long standing commitment to this issue. For more information go to www.comicrelief.com

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