Thirteen pledges to be more open about mental health in the workplace

A housing provider in the North East has pledged to challenge the taboos that surround mental health in the workplace.

Thirteen Group has signed an employer pledge with Time to Change, an initiative run by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, which supports people to open up about mental health problems.

By signing, the organisation is committing to change the way it thinks and acts about mental health in the workplace.

“We know it can be hard to talk about mental health, which is why we’re supporting employers to open up; to talk and to listen,” said Jo Loughran, Time to Change’s interim director.

“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 organisations like Thirteen taking the lead.”

The signing ceremony took place at Thirteen’s head office at Northshore, Stockton, where staff pledged their support to Time to Change with an action plan of activity that will help to break the silence that surrounds mental health in the workplace.

“As an organisation that’s committed to maintaining a happy and healthy workforce, I’m really pleased to sign the Time to Change pledge on behalf of Thirteen,” said Ian Wardle, Thirteen’s chief executive. “It’s so important that we talk about mental health and face it head-on and I’m proud to be showing our commitment to mental health.”

Thirteen has joined over 450 organisations that have signed up to the Time to Change pledge, including E.ON, British Gas, Ernst & Young, Transport for London, Royal Mail, Barclays, Shell, Pepsico, the Church of England, Sunday Mirror, Marks and Spencer, and many NHS trusts, universities, and local authorities.

Loughran added: “Many leading employers have found that making a strategic commitment to the mental wellbeing of their workforce benefits not only 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, Comic Relief and the Big Lottery 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.



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