The Isle of Wight Council says a team of almost 50 mental health first aiders are helping to break the stigma around mental health with staff.

It’s as the council reaffirms its commitment to the ‘time to change’ pledge today (Thursday) on World Mental Health Awareness day.

Today the Isle of Wight Council made mental health and wellbeing of its staff a top priority in signing the pledge.

Since then, a group of passionate colleagues has focused on making the change a reality and providing trusted, empathic and skilled support for staff experiencing mental health concerns.

Over the past year, the council has also worked with partners ‘Remploy’ – an independent and tailored support service, offering face-to-face, telephone support to enable staff to develop coping strategies and adjustments that could help people to manage their mental health.

The Council say they have also:

  • Held ‘coffee and chat’ drop-in sessions throughout the year.
  • Promoted regular update guidance to staff.
  • Incorporated a wellbeing check-up into staff.
  • Developed a range of training programmes for staff and managers to support personal resilience and recognising and dealing with mental ill-health in the workplace.
  • Promotion of employee assistance programme is also being promoted as an additional source of support for staff.

John Metcalfe, chief executive of the Isle of Wight Council, said,

“It’s really important to me that our staff know how seriously we take the issue of mental health and that they have confidence in us as an organisation to provide the appropriate support if it’s needed.

“We’re working with people to continue to develop our offer to ensure that our staff are supported and protected appropriately in times when they need it. It’s our duty as an employer to support our team, and I’m really pleased that the changes we’ve embedded this year.”

Councillor Clare Mosdell, mental health champion, added,

“One in four of us will experience a mental health problem at any one time, and nine out of every ten people who have experienced a mental health problem have faced negative treatment from others as a result.

“Our continued commitment as an organisation to the Time to Change employer pledge is essential in breaking the stigma and encouraging people to reach out for support when and how they need it.”