Bhanu Dhir, Managing Director at Steps To Work, and Ayesha Farooq, Health, Wellbeing & Safety Officer, signing the Time To Change pledgeWalsall-based charitable training provider and recruitment specialists, Steps To Work, have today signed an employer pledge with Time to Change, the growing social movement run by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, which supports people to open up to mental health problems.

The signing ceremony took place at the organisation’s head office, situated at Townend House in Walsall, where representatives pledged their support to Time to Change with an action plan of activity that will help to break the silence that surrounds mental health in the workplace.

Bhanu Dhir, Managing Director at Steps To Work, commented: “As an organisation that champions mental wellbeing initiatives, Steps To Work are proud to have signed the Time to Change employer pledge, demonstrating our commitment to changing the way we all think and act about mental health in the workplace. 

“Highlighting the growing pertinence of this issue, statistics indicate that 25% of the domestic workforce population are affected by conditions such as stress, anxiety and depression every year, whilst mental ill-health is the leading cause of sickness absence in the UK, costing an average of £1,035 per employee per annum. Considering this, Steps To Work felt it was imperative to adopt a proactive approach and lead by example when it comes to mental wellbeing, dedicating internal resources towards the provision of support that will benefit our entire organisation.

“We look forward to working closely with both Mind and Rethink Mental Illness to promote mental health and wellbeing throughout all areas of our business and would encourage other employers to do the same.”

Steps To Work is a registered charity based in Walsall that empowers those who face marginalisation to overcome barriers, supporting them to achieve their goals and realise their potential within modern workplace environments. Since 1999, the organisation has helped more than 34,000 individuals throughout the region into work.

Steps To Work joins the wide movement of over 450 organisations that have signed up to the Time to Change pledge, including E.ON, British Gas, Ernst & Young, Transport for London, Royal Mail, Barclays, Shell, Pepsico, the Church of England, Sunday Mirror, Marks and Spencer, and many NHS trusts, universities, and local authorities.

Jo Loughran, Interim Director of 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 Steps To Work taking the lead.

“Many leading employers have found that making a strategic commitment to the mental wellbeing of their workforce not only benefits their staff but also their bottom-line, improving productivity and staff retention. With one in six British workers experiencing mental illness it's time for businesses to make a change and start creating more mentally healthy workplaces."

Time to Change is funded by the Department of Health, Comic Relief and the Big Lottery Fund. Set up to create a positive shift in public attitudes towards mental health problems, Time to Change supports communities, schools and workplaces to open up to mental health problems; to talk and to listen.