Editor, UBM

February 2, 2017

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Time to Talk Day: conversations about mental health change lives

Mental ill-health is the leading cause of sickness absence in the UK, says Louise Penman, Time to Change. She explains how conversations about mental health change lives and invites employers to take part in Time to Talk Day, taking place today.

With one in six British workers affected by conditions like anxiety, depression and stress every year, mental health is something your organisation can’t afford to ignore.

As well as being the leading cause of sickness absence in the UK, mental ill-health costs an average of £1,035 per employee every year.

Talking about mental health can make a real difference and can change lives. We know from our research that a continuing campaign to open up conversations about mental health and sharing best practice between colleagues, managers and across organisations increases support for people with mental health problems.

Time to Talk

A simple way to start doing this is by taking part in Time to Talk Day which is taking place today – Thursday 2 February.

Time to Talk Day is organised by Time to Change, the campaign to change how we all think and act about mental health problems, led by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness.

Time to Talk Day aims to get as many people as possible across England talking about mental health. Since its launch in 2014, it has sparked millions of converations in schools, homes, workplaces, in the media and online, and attracted support from celebrities such as Freddie Flintoff, Stephen Fry and Frankie Bridge.

This year’s theme is focusing on how positive conversations about mental health change lives and urging people to start up a conversation, whatever the hour, on Time to Talk Day itself.

Sue Baker, director of Time to Change, said: “Mental health problems are common and can affect any one of us, yet too often people are afraid to talk openly about mental health. for fear of being judged.

“Time to Talk Day is a chance for everyone to open up about mental health – to talk, to listen, to change lives. We want to get the nation talking round the clock, whatever the time, whatever the place, wherever you are – it’s easy to take part and make a change.”

Get your workplace involved today – we have lots of suggestions for simple activities that you can run both today and at any time.

Time to Change

Being open to mental health makes a real difference year-round. Bringing the campaign to your workplace is easy when you know how. Join hundreds of organisations that have already got involved in Time to Change.

Signing the Time to Change Employer Pledge signals your commitment to changing how we think and act about mental health in the workplace and make sure that employees who are facing mental health problems feel supported.

Time to Change will work with you to develop an action plan to get your employees talking about mental health. This could include actions such as taking part in Time to Talk Day, to training line managers so they feel comfortable having conversations about mental health with their line reports.

Signing the Time to Change Employer Pledge is free and we will offer dedicated support throughout the process as well as a year of support after you sign. This includes coaching on your action plan, connections to other employers and free masterclasses where you can learn from leading employers on how they have achieved success.

Since signing the Time to Change Employer Pledge:

  • 95% said it had a positive impact on their organisation
  • 80% of organisations agreed that it had helped to raise awareness of mental health amongst staff
  • 50% reported a rise in staff disclosure of mental health problems, which helps to intervene early and prevent long term sickness

For more information on signing the Time to Change Employer Pledge, or to look for more resources and suggestions on running your own Time to Talk day, visit the Time to Change website.

What makes us susceptible to burnout?

In this episode  of the Safety & Health Podcast, ‘Burnout, stress and being human’, Heather Beach is joined by Stacy Thomson to discuss burnout, perfectionism and how to deal with burnout as an individual, as management and as an organisation.

We provide an insight on how to tackle burnout and why mental health is such a taboo subject, particularly in the workplace.


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Nigel Dupree
Nigel Dupree
7 years ago

Serious under-estimation of costs per employee as, presenteeism grows exponentially and, the debilitating nature of Screen Fatigue & CVS is recognised as a Global Pandemic, let alone, the business and social health costs of £8bn associated with the 30% + of UK population classified as Functional Illiteracy. Then for the last 27 years we have had to accept, in the absence of any effective mitigation, Screen Fatigue or CVS accounting for a conservative 20% loss in performance or 30 days lost productivity over the working year alone, without including, the 5 to 9 days for sickies or up to average… Read more »

Duncan Brown
Duncan Brown
7 years ago

Here’s a free to view film about a carpenter who was so severely bullied by co-workers that he attempted suicide and suffered a breakdown that kept him out of work for 5 years https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiXUf58I0EU