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100 organisations sign the This is Me pledge

A pioneering campaign to improve mental health in the workplace has taken off in the West Midlands with 100 organisations signing the This is Me pledge in just 10 months.

Nationally, more than 700 businesses and service providers have taken up the initiative since its launch four years ago and the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) signed up and began promoting it across the region in January.

WMCA portfolio holder for wellbeing and leader of Warwickshire County Council Councillor Izzi Seccombe, described the take up as “extremely encouraging”.

She added: “To have 100 pledges signed in less than a year demonstrates how business and service provider leaders in the West Midlands really do care about their workforce and understand that mental health issues can and do affect so many people, and that to be able to talk openly in the workplace helps the healing process and reduces the stigma.

“A workforce that pulls together and supports each other is a recipe for a successful business.”

Birmingham-based theatre in education company Loudmouth becomes the 100th business to sign up to This Is Me in the week in which World Mental Health Day is marked tomorrow (October 10).

Its director Eleanor Vale said: “We are really excited to sign up to the campaign.

“At Loudmouth, we run theatre in education sessions in schools to help raise awareness and reduce the stigma around mental health and so are excited to look at how we can use the This Is Me resources and ideas to look at the same issues with our own workforce.”

The campaign, developed by Barclays, takes a three-pronged approach. Employees can share their experiences through videos and blogs, to normalise the conversation about mental health in the workplace.

They are encouraged to wear a green ribbon as a sign of support to colleagues who may be struggling and a Wellbeing in the City e-learning programme, devised by the Samaritans, equips staff with the skills to manage their own mental health as well as support others before they reach crisis point.

Other high-profile organisations that have signed up to the campaign, which is also supported by Mind, City Mental Health Alliance and Business Healthy, include Network Rail, Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust and the Big Lottery Fund.

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