On Monday 13 May 2019, Bristol-based PR firm Speed signed the Time to Change pledge, marking Mental Health Awareness Week with a commitment to challenge stigma and provide a supportive and open working environment.
The pledge, run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, asks employers to implement action plans to support the mental health of their employees.
Jo Loughran, interim director at Time to Change, said: “We know it can be hard to talk about mental health, which is why we’re supporting employers to open up; to talk and to listen. Too many people with mental health problems are made to feel isolated, ashamed and worthless, but with the right support, those of us with mental health problems can recover and have equal opportunities in all areas of life. Everyone’s attitude makes a difference and it’s fantastic to see organisations like Speed taking the lead.”
In addition to its commitment to the Time to Change pledge, Speed launched a new wellbeing programme, called Balance. This will provide its 50-plus employees with a framework of physical and mental wellbeing support, including mental health first aiders, information resources, training and regular activities.
Both the pledge and the new wellbeing initiative were communicated at an all-employee meeting on Monday morning; staff received a handout with an overview of the wellbeing initiative, as well as a PDF with detailed information on the different support structures and benefits being offered.
The Balance initiative is based around five pillars: connect, be active, take notice, learn and give.
During Mental Health Awareness Week, which runs from 13 to 17 May 2019, Speed is running various health and wellbeing events, including individual fitness consultations, a lunchtime laughter session with a local comedian and social drinks on Friday.
Kelly Pepworth (pictured), managing director of Speed, said: “PR is a fast-paced industry managing both the media and digital world, this is what makes its fun, but also sometimes pressurised. Not all stress is bad, but what we want to achieve is a healthy balance and an environment where people feel they can talk openly about how they are feeling and reach out for support when they need to.
“The pledge and new programme are a demonstration of our commitment to a healthy work environment and culture with wellbeing at its heart.”