Banks Group signs up to ‘Time to Change’ mental health initiative

October 15, 2019 | Community News

Pictured above: Banks Group executive director Gavin Styles (centre) signs the "Time To Change pledge" alongside members of the company's mental health strategy team - (from left) Chris Adkins, Sharon Brown, Debbie McWilliam, Sara Whittaker, Olivia Turnbull and Catherine Fabi

North East property and energy firm The Banks Group is enhancing the mental health support it provides for its employees by signing up to the Time To Change campaign.

To coincide with World Mental Health Day, the Durham-headquartered business has taken the Employer Pledge for the campaign, which aims to change the way people think and act about mental health in the workplace by implementing action plans that help them open up about mental health issues.

The family-owned firm already has six trained employees acting as mental health first aiders across all its operational areas, and holds the Better Health at Work campaign’s Continuing Excellence Award for its long-term commitment to addressing health issues within the workplace.

It also a strong working relationship with Gateshead-based Recovery4Life, which offers specialist support, advice and guidance around substance misuse and mental health issues, and has an occupational health nurse available to all employees.

Banks’ mental health provisions are underpinned by support from The Samaritans, an organisation which Banks’ employees voted to adopt as their dedicated charity for 2019.

Over £6,000 has so far been raised for it by staff through a range of fundraising activities, including workplace lunches, dress down days, raffles, cake bakes and physical challenges.

Hundreds of public and private sectors businesses and organisations have already signed up to the Time to Change campaign, which is run by national charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness and which was set up to create a positive shift in public attitudes towards mental health problems.

Gavin Styles, executive director at The Banks Group, says: “Taking steps to underpin the health and well-being of their staff is not just the right thing for responsible employers to do, but is also essential to their chances of long-term, sustainable success.

“Mental health problems can affect any one of us at any time, and we want to ensure that we provide a working environment in which people feel comfortable speaking openly about mental health and asking for help when they need it.

“Recognising when issues may be arising and ensuring the right sorts of help and support are available is crucial in giving people the best chance to recover quickly and move forward.”

The Samaritans provides a safe place for people to talk at any time about whatever’s getting to them and reaches more than 500,000 people every year via its free 116 123 phone number, its free jo@samaritans.org email service and via outreach work in railway stations, schools, hospitals and businesses.

For more information on the work of and help available from The Samaritans, please visit www.samaritans.org or follow @samaritans on Twitter.

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