Helping End the Stigma Around Mental Health in the Workplace

Myself and all the team at KMA were thinking back to last Mental Health Awareness Week and remembered our delight when the This is Me, campaign went national in 2018.

During Mental Health Awareness week 2018, some 200 businesses and Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, attended its launch in Manchester

This is Me is the campaign developed by The Lord Mayor’s Appeal in London and initiated by Barclays. It aims to reduce the stigma around mental health in the workplace.

In the North West it’s driven by Barclays and PwC along with organisations including Sellafield, United Utilities, Manchester Airport Group, football clubs and mental health charities. It’s a great way of demonstrating to their employees that it’s crucially important to talk about mental health.

At the launch, Beth Graham of PwC, Christine Meakins of Barclays and Garry Brigland of United Utilities shared their personal stories of mental health at work. They also spoke of the enormous difference an organisation can make when it is open, supportive and prepared to talk about mental health.

Christine, a Director at Barclays in Cheshire, suffered from stress and exhaustion in 2014. She was worried that she’d not be able return to work.

“I hope that by sharing my story I can help others who are struggling with their mental health. By talking about mental health issues we reduce the stigma around it and we normalise it. And when we normalise mental health we take a huge step towards making things better.”

Myself and all the team at KMA thoroughly agree with this point. As an occupational therapy professional with extensive experience in this area I was also reassured by Andy Burnham’s comments. Change is taking place because something has to be done about the way mental health is talked about.

“We need a revolution in the way we talk about mental health. Because there is a stigma, people keep quiet and don’t seek help; they go through it alone afraid of recriminations and afraid they might lose their job. We need to do something to make it commonplace to ask for help and know it won’t lead to recriminations. We will put our full support behind This is Me and I can see no better way to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the NHS than with a revolution in the way we talk about mental health. This is the campaign of the moment.”

Many of the people in the room including the Mayor and many others at the launch event wore the Green Ribbon  – a great symbol of support to show those struggling that they are not alone.

I really hope that this campaign can become embedded across the nation in the future. I’m optimistic that it will be.

Have you read our self help stress tips blog?

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