A Rhyl-based community interest company is making signature moves to challenge mental health discrimination at work by formalising its commitment to employee care and integrating it into its workplace culture.
RCS, which delivers funded wellbeing services to employees and employers across North and West Wales to prevent and reduce sickness absence from work, has strengthened its own internal support to staff by signing an organisational pledge as part of the Time To Change Wales (TTCW) campaign.
The initiative is dedicated to breaking discrimination and the stigma around mental health within Wales, empowering organisations to hold themselves accountable when providing wellbeing support to employees.
As part of the pledge, resources are offered to help employers create a fully-fledged action plan to initiate discussions surrounding mental health at work, with companies able to sign its pledge once the plan is reviewed and approved by TTCW.
For RCS, the pledge comes off the back of a company-wide action plan which has been rolled out over the past twelve months as part of its efforts to ramp up the support available to staff, following a doubling in size during the pandemic.
As a part of its action plan, RCS offers services such as 1-2-1s, on-hand support from wellbeing champions, and days away from the office for team-building exercises, as well as regular staff surveys to measure the plan’s effectiveness.
Joanne Bartlett-Jones, head of resources at RCS, said:
The majority of people will spend the bulk of their lives in the workplace, so prioritising our employees’ wellbeing is crucial for them to flourish and feel productive.
Mental health support is the golden thread which is integrated across everything we do, not just in our policies, but in our culture too.
Through our European Social Fund-funded In Work Support Service, we provide support and training to help SME businesses improve workplace wellbeing, and it is vital we ‘walk the walk’ and provide the same level of care to our own team.
The organisation also ramped up its internal support, for example by providing mental health first aid training for all staff, which raises awareness on how to spot the signs of poor mental health and how to broach the topic with colleagues.
Staff are also encouraged to take paid ‘wellbeing hours’, which allow employees to carve time out for themselves during the busy working week.
Rachelle Bright, TTCW community engagement officer, said:
I’m so thrilled that RCS has decided to commit to taking actions that will lead to a reduction in mental health stigma and discrimination within their organisation through signing up to the pledge.
More organisations stepping up to make the organisational pledge means more noise is being made which will help break the silence around these issues.
If every organisation in Wales made a public pledge to tackle stigma, it would send a powerful message that mental health is something that can be talked about, and that discrimination is not welcome.
The pledge was signed at an in-person event at RCS’s headquarters in Rhyl, with members of the board and the TTCW team in attendance.
The company has previously been recognised for its commitment to the health and wellbeing of its workforce, winning the Federation for Small Businesses Wales Wellbeing award in 2020.
Ali Thomas, chief executive officer at RCS, added:
Signing the pledge is a way of making a public demonstration of our commitment to both our staff and to the wider community.
We’re really pleased to be working with Time to Change Wales to explore ways in which we can be continually raising the bar on tackling mental health stigma at work.
For more information, visit www.rcs-wales.co.uk, and for more information on the TTCW Employer Pledge, visit https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/take-action/resources-your-workplace/employer-pledge.