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Insights Changing the way we think and act about mental health

Supporting the wellbeing of our people and creating a healthy workplace is a key pillar of our UK & Europe people strategy. We’re committed to creating a work environment where it’s ok to talk about your mental health.

On the 10th of Oct 2019, to mark World Mental Health Day we’ve re-signed a joint Time to Change pledge – a commitment to change the way we think and act about mental health at every level of our UK & Europe businesses. Read our pledge here.

image of employees holding up an I Pledge sign

We’ve also updated our Time to Change action plan for the UK & Europe region which reports on our progress to date and what else we’ll do to spark change. 

“Creating a healthy workplace is one of the key pillars of our people strategy for 2019/20. Looking out for our colleagues and changing the way we think and act about mental health at work is so crucial to creating the environment our people want to work and thrive in.  We have made great progress since 2017 looking at how we can work together, support each other and encourage individuals to speak up. I’m really pleased that our regional leadership representing the UK & Europe businesses have joined together in signing the 2019 pledge." - Jilly Calder, Vice President HR, UK & Europe.

In the UK, one in four of us will be experiencing a mental health problem this year. Nine in ten people who have experienced a mental health problem have faced negative treatment from others as a result. And yet, despite the prevalence of mental illness in our country, considerable stigma still exists.

We probably all work with someone who is experiencing a mental health problem. The personal repercussions of this are significant and the struggle often happens in silence.

In 2017, we made a commitment to change the way we think and act about mental health at work by signing the Time to Change pledge. We’ve made some incredible progress since then; from extending our Mental Health First Aiders pilot programme across the UK to creating line manager training, tools and guidance.

Since 2017, we’ve established a Health and Well-being steering group who take a lead role in shaping our work in this area, with a focus on mental health, physical health and financial well-being.

We support the well-being of our employees through various initiatives such as supporting local fitness funding, sponsoring teams to complete the Global Challenge and training more than 100 Mental Health First Aiders across our UK offices.

We’ve also got several tools and resources available to support your mental health at work. Earlier this year, we launched our own Managing Mental Health training webinar for line managers but the training is useful for all staff to watch. Wellness Action Plans are available to all staff and can be used to initiate conversations with your line manager about your mental health. Last year, we created a specific mental health policy outlining our goals and responsibilities as individuals and as a business that supports good mental health.

Over the last two years, many of our brave colleagues have contributed their personal mental health story to our library of mental health case studies. Their stories raise awareness of the issues people can face and help us understand the warning signs so we can actively prioritise our own mental health.

All of the individuals who have contributed to this library have done so to share their experience in the hope that if just one person reads it and relates to it in a way that helps them, it’s been worthwhile. 
image of four employees holding i pledge signs
Time to Change is England’s biggest programme to challenge mental health stigma and discrimination and is run by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness. Some of our senior leaders have shared with us their Time to Change pledges. Why not join them and fill in your own Time to Change pledge and share it with us using the hashtag #InsideAtkins and #WMHD19. Download a copy of your own pledge card here.