Challenging the stigma and discrimination around mental health

Regular readers of Need to Know will be aware of the extensive work being done to increase awareness and improve services related to the mental health of our people.

The latest milestone took place at our Public Board meeting on Wednesday (25th May), when Chief Executive Robert Morton and Chair Sarah Boulton signed Mind’s Blue Light Time to Change Employer Pledge.

This encourages organisations to publicly commit to a series of actions that will tackle the stigma and discrimination around mental health, focusing on the workplace. By signing the pledge, the Trust must demonstrate it has produced an action plan, detailing what will be delivered to demonstrate commitment to the mental health of staff.

Health and Wellbeing Manager Debra Winterson said: “We are passionate about looking after our staff, and are currently working on a wide variety of projects that will gradually form a wide-ranging service. We have various information sources and confidential services to provide staff with the support they need, whenever they need it, and are looking at extending this range to ensure we offer the best possible service.

“Topics cover anything that can have an impact on someone’s mental health - work-life balance, anxiety and depression, right through to elder care and consumer rights. Our trauma risk management (TRiM) process also helps assess traumatic stress and signposts people to the most appropriate resources, assisting them back to full mental health and return to work.

“Improving our mental health has numerous positive consequences for us all.  By building resilience, challenging stigma and by signing Mind’s Time to Change pledge we can really build on the support for our staff.”

By signing the pledge, we have joined more than 400 employers in England, across all sectors, who are working to tackle mental health stigma and to help keep their staff well for work. In the past six months, we have taken part in extensive awareness training with Mind, as part of the charity’s Blue Light mental health work with the emergency services nationally, and during the recent national Mental Health awareness week run by the Mental Health Foundation we hosted a mental health awareness workshop with Essex Police and Essex Fire and Rescue Service. It was a highly successful day, set up to explore familiar themes between the 999s about staff mental health.

For more information on Time to Pledge, visit

For information on services the Trust offers for mental health, please click here.

Published 26th May, 2016

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