Suffolk Health and Wellbeing Board has endorsed the Time to Change Employer Pledge on behalf of all its member organisations.
Following this morning’s Health and Wellbeing Board meeting, representatives of the board signed up to the pledge.
In 2017, Suffolk was successful in its bid to become a Time to Change hub. As one of only four hubs in the country, Suffolk has been recognised as a county in which good mental health is a priority, with the infrastructure to promote good mental health and challenge stigma.
Mental health is consistently a major cause of absence in the workplace, with an estimated one in four British workers affected by conditions such as anxiety, depression and stress every year. Mental ill health is the leading cause of sickness absence in the UK costing an average of £1.035 per employee per year. The majority (95%) of employees calling in sick with stress provide an alternative reason for absence
Cllr Tony Goldson, Suffolk County Council Cabinet Member for Health said: “Mental ill health is one of the primary causes of sickness absence to Suffolk organisations in every sector. This is why it is so important that employers create an environment which promotes positive mental health for staff.
“We want to raise awareness of all aspects of mental health and encourage people to talk about their own emotional wellbeing and experiences. In signing the Employer Pledge, the Board is emphasising its shared commitment to a workforce that is empowered to discuss mental health openly.
“We have a vast array of activities happening across Suffolk County Council to mark Mental Health Awareness week, as well as our ongoing ‘Five ways to wellbeing’ campaign which highlights simple steps we can all take to improve our mental wellbeing, from conversing with people around you to keeping active through regular exercise.”
Dr Ed Garratt, chief officer, NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk and NHS West Suffolk clinical commissioning groups, said: “It is really pleasing that, in signing the Time to Change Employer Pledge, the Health and Wellbeing Board is demonstrating its support for the mental health and wellbeing of the county’s workforce. It is such an important and worthwhile campaign.
“Everyone benefits by having a workplace environment which supports staff in being physically and mentally well.
“A happy and healthy workforce can result in fewer cases of ill health, such as stress, reducing the pressure on our local NHS services and levels of workplace absence.”
Over 700 organisations from FTSE 100 companies to Government departments have already signed the employer pledge demonstrating a clear intention to create a workplace environment in which employees can discuss their mental health openly, and do not face discrimination for poor mental health.
Organisations who sign the employer pledge will work directly with Time to Change to develop an action plan to encourage their employees to talk about mental health. As part of this they will have access to Time to Change’s ‘Accelerator Programme’ resources which are only available to pledge members, including training and promotional materials.