Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board is pledging to tackle the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental health by lending its support to a national campaign to change attitudes in Wales.
The Health Board is the latest employer to sign the ‘Time to Change Wales’ charter and pledge to improve awareness, reduce stigma and support staff who are experiencing mental health problems.
Time to Change Wales is the first national campaign to end the stigma and discrimination faced by people with mental health problems. It is delivered by leading mental health charities, Gofal, Hafal and Mind Cymru.
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) is the largest health organisation in Wales and employs over 16,500 staff.
In addition to the range of existing support available to staff through the Health Board’s Occupational Health team, BCUHB will introduce a number of new initiatives to tackle stigma and ensure that staff receive the best support to look after their mental wellbeing.
The Health Board has pledged to develop a network of ‘mental wellbeing champions’ who will help to challenge the stigma associated with mental health in the workplace and encourage open discussion about the topic with colleagues.
Mental health and wellbeing information hubs will also be established across its hospitals, health centres, clinics, mental health units and community based teams in North Wales.
Chief Executive, Gary Doherty said: “I am incredibly proud to have signed the Time to Change Wales pledge on behalf of BCUHB. In doing so we are making a very public commitment to our staff that we will do all we can to support them to look after their mental wellbeing and help to reduce the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental health in Wales.
“At a time when we are developing exciting plans to improve the mental wellbeing of the people we serve across North Wales, it is vital that we also ensure that our staff – who are our greatest asset – feel well supported and can talk openly about mental health.”
Lowri Wyn Jones, Programme Manager for Time to Change Wales, said: “We are thrilled to have Betsi Cadwaladr sign the pledge and join the other health boards in Wales in their commitment to reduce the stigma of mental health in the workplace.
“The NHS in Wales is the single biggest employer in Wales therefore we hope that through signing this pledge it can make a huge difference in reducing the discrimination faced by people in Wales with mental health problems.”
“Time to Change Wales brings together inspirational people with lived experiences of mental health problems to work for social change – to end discrimination and stigma around mental health problems.
“More working days are lost to stress, anxiety and depression than any other illness, looking after your staff has never been more important than it is now.”