When it comes to CSR, some issues are easier to talk about than others. Many can be harder to digest, more "taboo" or simply a topic that is less comfortable to discuss openly. This is often the case when it comes to starting a conversation around mental health, especially in the workplace. Yet, companies are now taking the issue on, pledging to take "action to tackle the stigma and discrimination around mental health," an issue that directly impacts the workforce.
Unilever, Rolls Royce, Standard Life, HSBC and Network Rail are just a handful of the more than 350 businesses in the U.K. that have signed the Time to Change pledge. The pledge, part of the Time to Change movement led by mental health nonprofits Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, seeks to get the entire nation talking about mental health with an ultimate goal of ending mental health discrimination. When organizations take the pledge, they are doing more than simply opening a conversation; each pledge must also be backed by an organization-specific action plan, detailing the tangible activities each company will deliver to demonstrate commitment. Time to Change helps facilitate these action plans by providing support and information for employees, managers and those who wish to run anti-stigma activities within their own organizations. To bring the conversation to the forefront and break the silence around these conversations, Time to Change designated Thursday, February 4, as Time to Talk Day. So far, more than 90,000 individuals, 377 organizations and 37 celebrities have pledged to end the mental health stigma.*
Mental health is a very real and pressing issue within the workplace, which is oftentimes swept under the rug until a concern comes to a head. Now, companies are proactively starting a conversation around mental health in an authentic way, inviting employees to feel comfortable coming forth with issues or concerns, while tackling stigmas as a whole. The Time to Change initiative reflects yet another shift in modernizing employee engagement. As companies seek to recruit and retain the right talent, more are recognizing their responsibility to engagement and wellness must be ongoing and robust.
*as of 2/4/16