Time to Change

This week, Bristol City Council will pledge to become a ‘Time to Change’ employer and join the growing social movement supporting people to open about mental health.

We want to ensure we have an environment which supports colleagues to open up; to talk and to listen. Becoming a Time to Change employer is a sign of our commitment to this and puts mental health and wellbeing top of the agenda in City Hall.

Time to Change is run by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness and by signing the employer pledge the council is committing to change the way we all think and act about mental health in the workplace. The announcement comes ahead of Time to Talk Day (7 Feb) a national awareness day encouraging people to have conversations about mental health and challenge stigma.

Behind the pledge sits an action plan to set out how we will achieve this and how we’ll make sure we’re embedding mental health into our policies to best support colleagues. Practical things we will be doing include creating an environment where colleagues feel more able to discuss mental health concerns, providing information to managers on mental health and working collaboratively with trade unions, staff-led groups and external expertise to hear voices from all employee groups.

We know that this is one part of the picture and mental health is an issue that needs to be looked at from many different angles. That’s why we’re working on a 10 year programme focused on prevention called Thrive Bristol. BCC has also signed the Public Health England Prevention Concordat for Better Mental Health demonstrating its commitment to join the national drive to take action to prevent mental health problems, promote good mental health and build resilient communities.

I want to see other city institutions come on board and pledge to this too, as a city wide commitment to better mental health. This reflects the approach we have taken with our pledges on the UNITE Construction Charter, our Living Wage accreditation and recently the Dying To Work charter. These set out the benchmark we want to see for employers in the city and hope other can follow our lead.

Signing the Time to Change employer pledge is another mark of our commitment to putting mental health on the same footing as physical health.  This is an issue we can’t afford to ignore and we need to create a workplace culture where we are all confident to open up the conversation around mental health.

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