48 Organisations employing over 350 thousand people will sign the Time to Change Employer Pledge across the country this World Mental Health Day.

By signing the Time to Change Employer Pledge, these organisations have committed to changing the way we think and act about mental health in the workplace, joining a growing movement of over 1200 organisations.

The day’s signatories included Boots, Sainsbury’s, Capita and Nestle. They join Time to Change’s Pledged Employers that include Tesco, E.ON, British Gas, Ernst & Young, Transport for London, Stagecoach UK, Barclays, Shell, Pepsico, Marks and Spencer, and many NHS trusts, universities and local authorities.

Since 2009, Time to Change, run by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, has been supporting employers to a create a more open and understanding culture around mental health problems in the workplace, assisting employers to develop their workplace wellbeing interventions and action plans and providing a range of free resources, training and networking events. Time to Change’s pledged organisations employ over two million people.

Jo Loughran, Director of Time to Change said: “We’re delighted to see so many organisations take the Time to Change Employers Pledge this World Mental Health Day. By signing the pledge these employers are demonstrating a real commitment to changing the way we all think and act about mental health in the workplace.”

“We know it can be hard to talk about mental health, which is why we work with employers to encourage staff at all levels 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 today’s signatories taking the lead.”

The cost of poor mental health to UK employers has been estimated to be between £33 billion and £42 billion, according to the Thriving at Work Report published in 2017 and stigma around workplace mental health remains a key issue. 

In a survey of UK adults undertaken by Time to Change in 2009, 56% said they would not hire someone with depression even if they were the best candidate for the job. Whilst 35% of people in the British Social Attitudes Survey (2017) think they would be less likely to get promoted if they had depression.

Jo Loughran, Director of Time to Change added: “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."

Time to Change is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care, Comic Relief and the National Lottery Community 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. Since Time to Change began in 2007 our national surveys show an overall 12.7% change, equivalent to an estimated 5.4 million adults with improved attitudes.