Central England marks first year of pledge to raise awareness over mental health

Since chief executive Martyn Cheatle signed the pledge 12 months ago, the society has launched a series of initiatives to support those who are battling mental health issues

Central England Co-op  has celebrated the first anniversary of its Time to Change Employer Pledge, which saw it vow to break the silence around mental health.

Since chief executive Martyn Cheatle signed the pledge 12 months ago, the society has launched a series of initiatives to support those who are battling mental health issues.

These include:

  • Mental health first aid training courses, dementia-friendly awareness sessions and mindfulness workshops – over 30 events that over 400 colleagues have attended
  • Creating 50 mental health and wellbeing champions who offer support by signposting colleagues towards resources and help regarding mental health
  • Launched a colleague assistance programme, which is a 24-hour, seven day a week, confidential helpline
  • Conference for the 50 mental health and wellbeing champions, in conjunction with Time to Change, for them to find out more about their roles, share best practice and learn about supporting each other.

Tracey Orr, support services executive, has spearheaded the society’s efforts to tackle the issue of mental health as part of a mental health working party.

She 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.

“During the past 12 months we have raised awareness around the importance of mental health and wellbeing at work, championed the issue by providing the resources and tools for all colleagues and helped break the culture of silence around mental health.”

She added: “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.”

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 is an aspirational statement which indicates to colleagues, members and customers that Central England Co-op wants to take action to tackle the stigma and discrimination around mental health, focusing on the workplace in particular.

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