Over 50 employers from across Gloucestershire are getting together next week at a workshop in Cheltenham to talk about the benefits of tackling mental health stigma in the workplace.

The workshop, which takes place on 10 November, will give employers an opportunity to reflect on their personal views of mental health and stigma and to pick up information and tips about how they can create a healthy workplace and reduce the risks of stress, anxiety or more severe mental ill health.

It is open to all Gloucestershire businesses and organisations and the keynote speaker, Sue Baker, Director of Time to Change, England’s programme to end mental health stigma and discrimination, will share useful insights and advice.

A number of businesses across Gloucestershire have already expressed their commitment to help their workforces become open and honest about mental health issues.

Over the past few weeks, organisations such as Gloucester Rugby, GE Aviation, Gloucester Fire and Rescue Service and Norville Group signed a pledge to ‘Tackle Stigma’ and ‘Talk Mental Health’ to support the message of World Mental Health Day in October.

Businesses have also talked to senior figures from 2gether NHS Foundation Trust, NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group and a 2gether service user about mental health issues such as stress, anxiety and depression over a cup of tea.

Professor Jane Melton, Clinical Director for Social Inclusion with 2gether, said:

“We are really grateful to all the local businesses that have welcomed us over the past few weeks. Their commitment, interest and enthusiasm to find out more about how to encourage good emotional wellbeing is commendable.

We want to encourage other businesses in Gloucestershire to follow their example, so that we get the whole county tackling stigma and talking mental health.”

Dr Helen Miller, Clinical Chair at NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group said:

“We can help our employees to stay well, both physically and mentally with the right knowledge and skills. Sometimes all it takes is a simple reminder that you care, or an understanding ear.

Maintaining good mental health is really important, particularly in the context of a rapidly changing world and pace of life.

Looking after staff and working towards reducing the stigma associated with mental health makes organisations happier and healthier. It also makes good business sense for organisations as staff who feel better cared for and supported will ultimately feel able to contribute more with a positive impact on productivity.”

Mental health problems are common – but nearly nine out of ten people who experience them say they face stigma and discrimination as a result, which can be even worse than the symptoms themselves.

Time to Change is England’s biggest programme to challenge mental health stigma and discrimination. Find out more at www.time-to-change.org.uk.