Time to Talk Day: speak to your employees regarding mental health

Its Time to Talk Day (6/2/20), when employees are encouraged to speak openly about any issues they may be going through in order to put an end to the social stigma of speaking about mental health.

The day is an initiative put forward from Time to Change, a mental health charity. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that 25 per cent are affected by mental health problems and 57 per cent suffer from stress, anxiety or depression.

Dr Syed Zakir Abbas, chief medical officer at Unum UK said:

Decreasing stigma around mental health problems in the work place and better understanding of the benefits of early support is key.

There are a number of steps both employees and their employers should consider to better support workplace mental wellbeing. These include encouraging open conversations about mental health between employees and their employer, discussing the support available, and ensuring everyone has a healthy work-life balance and opportunities for development.”

Your employer may provide an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) which will give you advice and help on a range of work/life issues or other mental health resources you can access. For example, we provide specialist mental health support to employees when their employer has a Group income protection policy with us.

Vanessa Sallows, benefits and governance director at Insurance, Legal & General said:

As we begin a new decade, it’s important to reflect on the great progress organisations across the UK have made in smashing the stigma associated with mental health. There’s undoubtedly growing recognition that mental wellbeing among employees is not only good for staff, but essential for a competitive and productive business. However, mental health continues to be one of the biggest causes of long- and short-term employee absence, so awareness days, such as Time to Talk Day, are vital in encouraging more people to be open about their mental wellbeing.

Mental health doesn’t discriminate, so for real change to occur, it’s crucial for workplaces to create a culture where employees of all levels can openly discuss their wellbeing. For business leaders, using their seniority to positively push boundaries and encourage action can make all the difference – in fact, our recent ‘Not a Red Card’ research found 69 per cent of employees would be more attracted to working in an organisation where senior level executives have spoken openly about mental health.

Businesses are in a unique position to help support their employees’ mental wellbeing, so as we look to the future, we must keep building upon the momentum of recent years and create mentally healthy workplaces where people can flourish.

In October 2019, armed forces charity, SSAFA found that 46 per cent worry about hiring someone who used to serve in the army due to the stigma surrounding mental health.





Darius is the editor of HRreview. He has previously worked as a finance reporter for the Daily Express. He studied his journalism masters at Press Association Training and graduated from the University of York with a degree in History.