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Over the last few years it has been refreshing to see mental health higher and higher on the agenda and I feel strongly that we can all play a part in ending the stigma.
As a business as soon as I heard about the Time to Change pledge it was a no brainer that we wanted to be involved. Protecting the wellbeing of our employees is a key part of our ethos and we are aware that recruitment is a demanding and stressful industry. We have committed to the following pledge:
“Smile Education pledge to provide information, resources and training for our employees and managers to help them effectively support and signpost others within our organisation who may be struggling in order to aid their recovery. We pledge to provide a supportive non-judgemental environment for people to be open about their mental health.”
So what is the Time to Change pledge?
“The Time to Change employer pledge is a way for organisations to demonstrate their commitment to changing the way we all think and act about mental health in the workplace.”
When you sign the Employer Pledge you demonstrate your commitment to change how we think and act about mental health in the workplace and make sure that employees who are facing these problems feel supported. “
As part of our ongoing commitment we have:
· Trained 3 of our staff in mental health first aid
· Made individual pledges in the office, mine is going for a walk twice a week on lunch and inviting colleagues to come for a chat.
· Organised and paid for confidential counselling helplines.
· Booked a workshop with a stress awareness specialist.
· Created a folder of resources accessible to the whole team
Some of our staff have shared personal stories on how implementing the pledge has helped them:
“Sharing what was happening to me with other people helped me to realise that feeling how I did was not right, but that other people had experienced the same feelings and I needed to get help or make changes in my life to improve my mood. When I thought about what had changed recently I checked the new medication I was on and one of the side effects was mood fluctuations, coming off that made the difference. Had I not opened up to my friends and family I would have struggled on feeling hopeless, suicidal and unhappy for a lot longer.”
I would encourage any business to get involved in the pledge, it has had a positive impact on us all. Personally I started my walk pledge this week, I covered 5k steps and rather than work through my lunch I came back feeling reenergised and ready to face the afternoon. Sadly no one else fancied a walk in the rain but I’m hoping as spring approaches some of my colleagues will come along!