BT, Mars and Royal Bank of Scotland are among the employers leading a campaign to tackle mental health in the workplace.
The campaign, run by Business in the Community (BITC), coincides with the launch of BITC’s report Mental health: we’re ready to talk, as part of Responsible Business Week, which runs from 31 March to 4 April.
The Workwell Mental Health Champions Group, which also includes American Express, BaxterStory, National Grid, Procter and Gamble, Right Management and Santander, aims to ensure mental wellbeing is recognised as a priority in the boardroom.
Members will help other organisations bring an end to the stigma of mental health in the workplace and ensure it is managed on the same level as physical health.
The campaign is also backed by mental health charity Mind, the Work Foundation and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.
BITC’s report sets out evidence that the silence around mental health is stifling UK organisations’ productivity and competitiveness. It also outlines the benefits for organisations that engage with mental wellbeing.
Any employers that are interested in joining the Workwell Mental Health Champions Group are required to sign up to a pledge and to demonstrate action towards improved support for employees experiencing mental health problems.
Employers which join the group will be ambassadors and advocates, and will make a financial contribution to help fund the initiative.
Louise Aston, Workwell director at BITC, said: “There is a strong moral and business case for engaging in mental health.
“It is one of the biggest threats to the wellbeing of organisations and society. People are suffering in silence, but it doesn’t have to be this way.
“Our goal is to help mental health become a strategic boardroom issue, and to encourage more employers to take preventative and supportive action on employee mental health as they would do on physical health.”
Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, added: “Some top organisations already have measures in place to support the wellbeing of their staff, but this approach is far from universal.
“BITC’s Mental Health Champions Group represents an exciting and vital step change in how this issue is addressed by organisations.
“We’re urging forward-thinking employers to make a commitment to taking action by signing the pledge.”