Mental Health is a growing issue in the UK with one in four people experiencing ill mental health in any given year. The Lord Mayor’s Appeal campaign, This is Me – in the City alongside the Green Ribbon campaign aims to #endthestigma in the workplace by encouraging employees to talk about mental health.
One in four people experience a mental health problem in any given year, yet many people feel scared and confused about confronting the issue at work. Only half (51%) of employees would feel confident telling their line manager about a mental health problem (Source: BITC) but mental health problems can affect a person’s performance at work as much as physical ill health.
Ending the stigma around mental health is not only the right thing to do, but it is a critical business issue, succinctly put by Michael Cole-Fontayn, Executive Vice President and Chairman of Europe, Middle East and Africa at BNY Mellon when he said “we employ people for their minds so we must look after their minds.”
Attitudes, knowledge and behaviour towards people with mental health problems are more likely to improve if people are given the opportunity to learn from someone who has personal experience of mental illness. The ‘This is Me’ campaign supported by the Green Ribbon campaign aims to address this by encouraging employees to talk about mental health in the workplace and #endthestigma surrounding mental health.
Provide a platform for employees to share stories and participate in ‘This is Me’
This is Me – in the City is a campaign in partnership with the architects of the campaign, Barclays, plus Business Healthy, City Mental Health Alliance, Mind and media partner City A.M. The pioneering City-wide mental health campaign aims to reduce the stigma around mental health in the workplace by dispelling the myths and raising awareness of wellbeing.
This is Me encourages employees who have experienced mental health problems, either personally or supporting a loved one, to share their stories with colleagues via a video message or other medium. The team at the Lord Mayor’s Appeal are available to support you along the way, understanding that organisations are at different stages when it comes to opening the conversation around mental health.
A comprehensive guide to running the campaign internally from both an employer and employee perspective is provided along with contact details for further assistance. If you would like a copy of this guide, please register your interest here.
Raise awareness within your organisation through the ‘Green Ribbon Campaign’
Fostering an inclusive workplace starts with raising awareness. To complement storytelling through This is Me, the Lord Mayor’s Appeal launched The Green Ribbon Campaign during Mental Health Awareness Week 2017, inviting people across the capital to wear a green ribbon with the simple but powerful message ‘Together we can #endthestigma’.
During Mental Health Awareness Week (14-20 May 2018), the Green Ribbon campaign creates a visible movement for those experiencing mental health issues and is a great opportunity for organisations and their employees to show their support for their colleagues by wearing a green ribbon, encouraging people to start the conversation to #endthestigma and helping to foster a supportive working environment.
More green ribbons, including a new pin badge, will be available for Mental Health Awareness Week 2018 (14th – 20th May) and can be ordered here.
Anastasia, Junior Recruiter at the Bank of England, took part in the Green Ribbon campaign last year. She had thought a lot about wearing a green ribbon for the campaign but was also concerned about the potential stigma she might face.
“Having suffered from anxiety and depression for the past 7 years, mental health is something I feel very strongly about” said Anastasia, “For a long period of time I was surrounded by cultures both personal and professional which made me feel like I couldn’t be open or honest about my experiences. The Bank of England was the first organisation in which I felt supported enough to be open about my experiences. The Green Ribbon campaign in 2017 actually prompted me to disclose my depression and anxiety to my colleagues, friends and family for the first time.”
After the campaign, Anastasia decided to open up to her relatives, her line manager and co-workers. The positive response changed her own perception of mental health. She has since joined and now co-chairs the Bank’s Mental Health Network. This network helps to increase awareness around mental health through educational activities and it offers support, so that employees know when or who to go to when they need help.
Through anecdotal evidence, organisations are noticing the impact of This is Me, whether it is:
2018 sees the introduction of an e-learning tool in partnership with Samaritans and the Lord Mayor’s Appeal. They will deliver an online wellbeing programme which will give employees the skills they need to manage their own emotional health as well as being able to support those around them, well before those feelings reach crisis point. This will create a workforce that is bolder and more confident in listening, communicating and knowing how to support themselves as well as colleagues, family or friends who are struggling.
The Lord Mayor’s Appeal would love to have your organisation on board – for more information, please visit their website here.