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New mental health support campaign launched in the City

Friday, 20 May 2016 Mind

Jeffrey Mountevans, Lord Mayor of the City of London, and representatives from leading mental health organisations launched ‘This is Me - in the City’ - a pioneering City wide mental health campaign, led by the Lord Mayor’s Appeal.

This is Me – in the City aims to reduce the stigma around mental health in the workplace by encouraging employees who have experienced a mental health problem to share their story with colleagues via a video message or other medium.

It is run in partnership with Barclays, Business Healthy, City Mental Health Alliance and Mind.

The initiative is based on the success of an initiative Barclays carried out 2 years ago which had 10 people share their story, with a further 160 subsequently sharing their own stories and was seen by 60,000 Barclays employees in the UK.

The new campaign was launched at a breakfast event at the offices of global law firm Hogan Lovells in London. Speakers at the event included The Lord Mayor, Susan Bright, Regional Managing Partner for the UK & Africa at Hogan Lovells, and a member of the City Mental Health Alliance Board, Geoff McDonald, Former Global VP HR Unilever (and now Director of Connecting with People) and was chaired by Mark McLane, Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion at Barclays.

‘This is Me’ aims to break down the stigma and raise awareness of mental health in the workplace.

Over 60 city institutions have already signed up to the initiative including Barclays, PwC and The Bank of England. The scheme is expected to involve over 200,000 employees across the UK.

Lord Mayor Jeffrey Mountevans said:

“This is Me - in the City’ is all about increasing, and improving, support for mental health and wellbeing in the workplace. In the City of London, work environments can be extremely demanding and high-pressured. But this only makes it more important to encourage frank conversation, equip employers with better understanding of how to provide support, and remove stigma for employees.”

Poppy Jaman, Programme Director, City Mental Health Alliance said:

“There has been tremendous progress over recent years in destigmatising mental health issues in the workplace. It’s been part of a broader trend in society, driven by education, a willingness among high-profile people to share their experiences, and a greater awareness of the impact it can have on your organisation. It isn’t about lost productivity, but a lost opportunity to increase the wellbeing of the workforce.”

Paul Farmer, CEO of Mind said:

“It’s important for businesses to foster an inclusive, supportive and open culture where your workforce feel able to talk openly about their mental health at work and know that if and when they do, they’ll be met with support, rather than stigma and discrimination. Staff who feel able to speak honestly about their mental health are more likely to seek help sooner. In the last few years we’ve seen great strides in promoting good mental health at work, including in the City. By getting involved with ‘This is Me – in the City’, your organisation can help join the movement for change, transforming the culture of your workplace to one where conversations about mental health are the norm.”

Statistics show that workplace mental health problems cost the UK economy over £26 billion a year through lost working days, staff turnover and lower productivity, with 1 in 6 workers is experiencing depression, anxiety or stress. Yet many people still don’t feel comfortable talking about it. A recent survey by Mind and YouGov found that, of those who had taken time off sick with stress, 95 per cent gave their employer a different reason for their absence, such as a headache.

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