As CEO of Empowerment I am utterly proud of being a Time to Change Employer…. This means that we are part of a national movement to make our workplace free from mental illness being a stigma and promoting the emotional wellbeing of our staff.
Our approach is based on all our staff and volunteers being human beings who we know at times will be affected by mental illness. I myself have had depression since the age of 18 and am able to talk about that freely at Empowerment without any fear or negative consequences. But my experience is not true of most people in the workplace.
So what have done since we signed the Time to Change Employer Pledge in January 2018?
- Set aside a room in the Empowerment Base which is the ‘Time to Talk’ Room where staff can provide emotional support to each other
- Hold a monthly Monday morning Time to Change ‘Tea and Toast’ event for all staff and volunteers to take time out on a Monday morning to talk and share their feelings
- Appoint four Time to Change Champions in the workplace to promote the Time to Change campaign and be a source of advice and support to colleagues
- Provide flexible working for staff and volunteers who are experiencing poor mental health, to enable them to keep being in work rather than going off sick.
- Provide a free 24/7 Employee Assistance Programme which staff can access to get emotional support including counselling.
- Worked hard to create a culture whereby any staff member can disclose share their own experiences of mental illness without any stigma; and where every person applying for a job at Empowerment can freely share without fear of any discrimination that they have experienced mental health issues.
We are on a journey and we’re not there yet, we still have so much work to do to. Next week I’ll share about the impact all of this has had on Empowerment and how I feel that we are much better organisation because of it!