Central England Co-op signs pledge to raise awareness of mental health

Central England Co-operative has vowed to break the silence around mental health by signing the Time to Change Employer Pledge. Time to Change is a national mental health...

Central England Co-operative has vowed to break the silence around mental health by signing the Time to Change Employer Pledge.

Time to Change is a national mental health campaign, launched in 2009 by mental health charities MIND and Rethink, with the objective of reducing health related stigma and discrimination.

The pledge, signed by chief executive Martyn Cheatles, illustrates Central England’s long-term commitment to put in place the foundations to:

  • raise awareness around the importance of mental health and wellbeing at work
  • champion the issue by providing the resources and tools for all colleagues
  • help break the culture of silence around mental health.

As part of the pledge, the society will create 50 mental health and wellbeing champions who will offer support by signposting colleagues towards resources and help regarding mental health.

Related: Co-op Group raised £4m to tackle loneliness

The signing of the agreement has been spearheaded by Tracey Orr, support services executive, and a mental health working party set up at the society to focus on the issue.

Mr Cheatle said: “The health and wellbeing of all of our colleagues is of the utmost importance to us and this was why it was vital we signed up to this initiative.

“One in four people will experience a mental health issue and nine in 10 people with a mental health problem experience stigma and discrimination. We, as a society, think this is unfair, and this is why we are implementing an action plan to tackle mental health and wellbeing.

“Our society is now more focused than ever in providing support for those who need it and working hard to end the discrimination and stigma associated with mental health.”

Central England – one of the UK’s largest independent retail co-ops, with more than 8,000 staff – has joined a growing movement of more than 480 employers in England who have signed the Time to Change Employer Pledge.

Sue Baker, 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 Central England Co-operative taking the lead.”

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