Why should we care about mental health?

Signing the Time to Change Employer Pledge

Last week I signed the Time to Change Employer Pledge on behalf of Nerudia, to demonstrate our commitment to ending mental health discrimination in the workplace. But what does this actually mean in practice, and why do we at Nerudia care about this?

The sad fact is that 1 in 4 British workers are affected by anxiety, depression or stress every year. It’s the leading cause of sickness absence in the UK and costs companies an average of £1,035 per employee per year. Due to the stigma that surrounds mental ill health, however, 95% of people who call in sick because of a mental health issue will give a different reason for their absence to their employer, and 42% have considered resigning due to workplace stress.

So why take action?

It makes good business sense to ensure our employees are mentally healthy as much as they are physically healthy, as happy employees are more productive at work and less likely to leave. However, more importantly than this, we have a duty of care towards everyone who works for us and looking after our people is the right thing to do.

What is Time to Change?

Funded by the Department of Health, Comic Relief, and the National Lottery, Time to Change is a programme run by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, which aims to change public attitudes about mental health. They want to empower people to challenge stigma and speak openly about their own mental health experiences, and change attitudes and behaviours towards those of us with mental health problems.

The Time to Change Employer Pledge is a way to demonstrate Nerudia’s commitment to our employees’ mental health, and to creating an environment where can they be open about it. The pledge has so far been signed by over 500 employers including Tesco, M&S, Unilever and Barclays.

What will Nerudia do?

In order to sign the pledge we had to develop an action plan to cover the seven key principles of the pledge. Our plan has now been approved and signed off by Time to Change.

The seven principles of the pledge are:

  • Demonstrate senior level buy-in
  • Demonstrate accountability and recruit Employee Champion
  • Raise awareness about mental health
  • Update and implement policies to address mental health problems in the workplace
  • Ask staff to share personal experiences of mental health problems
  • Equip line managers to have conversations about mental health
  • Provide information about mental health and signpost to support services

Now that we have signed the pledge we are beginning to implement the actions in our plan and will be sharing information with our colleagues through our intranet and internal newsletter in the coming weeks, along with details of how they can get involved.

Visit the Time to Change website to learn more about how we can all make a difference.

Tim Byrne

Deputy Group CEO