Southwark Council has signed the Time to Change employer pledge to help support the mental health of its 4,500 employees.
The Time to Change pledge, which the Council formally signed on Tuesday 30 October 2018, demonstrates the commitment to change how it thinks and acts about mental health in the workplace, as well as ensures that employees who are facing mental wellbeing challenges feel supported.
By committing to the pledge, Southwark Council aims to destigmatise and raise awareness around mental health at work.
Councillor Evelyn Akoto, cabinet member for community safety and public health, said: “I am incredibly proud that Southwark Council has signed up to the Time to Change employer pledge. It is absolutely the right thing to do for our employees and as an organisation. Our staff are our greatest strength and they do fantastic things on a daily basis. We want them to feel confident and supported at work and have the tools to support their mental wellbeing and resilience. As a local authority, we also realise that if staff are feeling under pressure, they need to be able to raise issues of stress or mental ill health without feeling stigmatised or judged.”
In order to action this commitment, Southwark Council plans to utilise its health and wellbeing strategy, which first launched in July 2018. This is based on the ‘wheel of wellbeing’, developed by South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, which centres around six themes: body, mind, people, spirit, planet and place.
The framework features key priorities to help support employee physical and mental health. This includes encouraging staff to be as active as possible, offering support to employees with long-term health conditions to help them stay in work, reviewing and promoting the Council’s stress policy to ensure it reflects the Health and Safety Executive’s management standards approach to preventing work-related stress, and empowering staff with opportunities to support and connect with each other.
Other steps the Council will take to meet its Time to Change commitment includes recruiting and supporting internal health and wellbeing champions, who will help to implement the health and wellbeing strategy, and providing proactive organisational support of key national campaigns, such as Mental Health Awareness Week and World Mental Health Day.
Southwark Council will also introduce a complementary range of training courses related to mental health, including stress awareness, training for managers on providing support to staff and a course based on enhancing resilience and positive mental wellbeing.
Akoto added: “We want to create an environment where all issues are openly discussed and tackled. We see the Time to Change employer pledge as a highly visible and powerful demonstration of our commitment to employee health and wellbeing.”
To date, approximately 800 employers in England have committed to the Time to Change campaign.