Time to Change is run by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness and by signing the employer pledge the council is committing to change the way we all think and act about mental health in the workplace. The council is hoping to lead by example and encourage other organisations to sign up. The recently launched One City Plan, which brings together a wide range of partners to set shared goals for the city over the coming decades, includes a target to get all businesses in the city signed up by 2033.
The announcement comes ahead of Time to Talk Day tomorrow (7 Feb) a national awareness day encouraging people to have conversations about mental health and challenge stigma.
As part of the council’s pledge it plans to build on its existing policies that support employee wellbeing and provide additional training for managers. The council’s executive directors will also champion mental health throughout the organisation and signposting to support will be more easily available.
Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: “This is an issue we can’t afford to ignore and we need to create a workplace culture where we are all confident to open up the conversation around mental health. The work we do can play a big role in our mental health and there are many ways in which employers can support their staff. I’d like to use Time to Talk Day as a platform to encourage organisations across the city to find out more about the employer pledge and think about changes they could make to build happier workplaces.”
Bristol has been a Time to Change hub for almost a year, meaning that it is part of a network of local organisations and individuals committed to ending negative attitudes and behaviours towards people experiencing mental health problems in their communities.
Being part of Time to Change is also one of the priorities for Thrive Bristol, a 10 year programme to improve the mental health of our citizens in Bristol.
Jo Loughran, Director of Time to Change, said: “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. 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 Bristol City Council taking the lead.
“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."
Bristol City Council now joins 16 other local employers in Bristol including University Hospitals Bristol, Midas Group, the University of Bristol and the University of the West of England – and is encouraging others to follow suit. Across the country more than 1,000 employers have signed up so far.
Last month the council also agreed to partner with Public Health England on an agreement for focus on the prevention of mental ill health. Locally, this will be achieved by working in partnership with many different organisations through Thrive Bristol.