Neath Port Talbot Council has committed to making the mental health and wellbeing of its employees a top priority.
The Council has signed up to the Time to Change Wales employer pledge, which is a commitment organisations make to improve the knowledge and understanding of mental health and to help all employees look after their mental health. The initiative is part of a national campaign that aims to remove the stigma and discrimination associated with mental health through raising awareness.
Councillor Doreen Jones, Cabinet Member for Corporate Services and Equality, said:
“Research has shown that one in four people experience mental health problems or illness at some point during their lifetime. It is also the leading cause of sickness absence in the Council.
“This is why we have signed up to the Time to Change pledge.
“This is a commitment to changing the way we think and act about mental health at every level of this organisation.”
A number of measures have already been put in place to support employees such as changes to employment policies, the employment of a mental health nurse within the Occupational Health Unit and the development of a mental health website to sign post employees to appropriate support services. In addition to this, the Council has developed a Time to Change action plan with the support of the Time to Change Wales team to help focus on the delivery of its mental health strategy.
Mark Fisher, Chair of the Joint Trade Unions said:
“We as Trade Unions are pleased the authority has pledged to support our workforce who require assistance when facing difficulties in or out of the workplace. We have supported the Council to put policies and procedures in place to support our workforce and membership when suffering with poor mental health.”
“Our joint working has resulted in support for employees at a very early stage, and we are now supporting staff whilst in work rather than waiting for them to go on sick leave.
“We thank the authority for signing up to the Time to Change Wales employer pledge.”
Preparations are also underway for the Council to take part in the national campaign World Mental Health Day on the 10th October. This is to raise further awareness of mental health and provide information on the support available. As part of the campaign, teams across the Council are being encouraged to arrange ‘Tea and Talk’ events, as research shows talking is good for your mental health and is an opportunity for employees to share their experiences and support each other.
The Time to Change Wales campaign is delivered by the charities Hafal and Mind Cymru.