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Business leaders urge organisations to talk about mental health

Tuesday, 01 April 2014 Mind

Mind is supporting Business in the Community’s new Workwell Mental Health Champions Group, who have launched their inaugural report, Mental Health: We’re Ready to Talk.


Mind is supporting Business in the Community’s new Workwell Mental Health Champions Group, whose inaugural report Mental Health: We’re Ready to Talk (the link to this external content from has expired) , was published yesterday (Monday, 31 March), as part of their campaign to end the culture of silence that surrounds mental health in the workplace.

The report has been developed by Business in The Community (BITC) in association with Mind, the Work Foundation and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD); and outlines how businesses which prioritise employee wellbeing reap rewards - including improved employee motivation, reduced sickness absence rates, greater staff retention rates and productivity. 

The report was launched on the first day of Responsible Business Week, which takes place from 31 March to 4 April 2014. 

Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, says:

“We’re delighted to be working with BITC Workwell to make the case for investing in staff wellbeing. Mental health problems are common, but too often people don’t speak up, fearing a negative response, which means they don’t get access to timely support. This is why mental health represents one of the biggest health challenges of the modern age."

“Some top organisations already have measures in place to support the wellbeing of their staff, but this approach is far from universal. BITC’s Mental Health Champions Group represents an exciting and vital step change in how this issue is addressed by businesses. We’re urging forward thinking employers to make a commitment to taking action by signing the Time to Change pledge.”

Today (Tuesday 1 April) BITC Workwell hosted a Big Conversation on Mental Health to discuss the report and to call on other employers to join the movement. The event, chaired by John Williams, BITC Board Member, featured keynote speeches from Patrick Watt (Corporate Director, Bupa UK), who is chair of the Workwell Mental Health Champions Group, Paul Farmer (Chief Executive, Mind) and David Sproul (Senior Partner and Chief Executive, Deloitte UK). 

Speeches were followed by a high-profile debate to increase awareness among employers on how to actively improve employee engagement and foster a new culture of openness over mental health, in order to improve staff wellbeing as well as business performance. 

Debate panellists included: 

•    Pete Rodgers - Deputy General Counsel -  KPMG International and chair of City Mental Health Alliance
•    Professor Cary Cooper, CBE – Distinguished Professor of Organizational Psychology and Health, Lancaster University
•    Jayne Carrington – Managing Director – Right Management
•    John Binns - Director at fit4success, ex Senior Partner at Deloitte
•    Suzanne Hughes - Learning, Talent and Development Director, Santander UK

The BITC Workwell Mental Health Champions Group will present a detailed update on its progress in a year’s time, during Responsible Business Week 2015.

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