Time to Talk Day: mental health critical to workforce wellbeing

Posted 06/02/2019 by E.ON

Around one in four people will experience a mental health problem this year. However, silence and embarrassment sometimes shroud the topic. One jarring statistic shows that 95% of people calling in sick with stress state a different reason for their absence.

That's why E.ON is working hard to change the way people think about mental health. February 7th is Time to Talk Day, which encourages people to talk about mental health. E.ON is supporting and promoting it across the company.

Time to Talk Day is run by Time to Change, a growing movement that aims to end mental health discrimination. In 2011, E.ON became a founding member of the Time to Change pledge. This helps employers develop an action plan around mental health and commit to normalising the conversation about the issue at work. Nearly 1,000 employers in England have signed the pledge, which is funded by the Department of Health, and co-ordinated by the charities MIND and Rethink Mental Illness.

Recognising how difficult it can be to discuss mental health, E.ON created Head Shed, an innovative way to get people talking and raise awareness. The campaign took a transformed garden shed around several of its sites, creating a space where individuals could discuss issues relating to mental health. Around 3,500 people attended a Head Shed workshop, and feedback from the programme led to E.ON developing a half-day course for line managers that covered the impact of mental ill health in the workplace. 

This is only one of the initiatives that E.ON has supported in recent years. During the firm's 'Mental Health May', colleagues shared personal stories, including their experiences of being a carer. The campaign brought 30,000 visits to the company's intranet with 300 calls to their healthcare provider.

E.ON also used social media to promote mental health awareness during a 10-week winter health campaign. Fred, a cuddly toy gnome, was the star of the campaign and posted tips on E.ON's employee intranet on how to improve your mood.

E.ON is committed to encouraging an open culture because it’s crucial that mental health becomes something people feel as comfortable talking to their employers about as physical health and wellbeing.

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