Stagecoach has become the first national bus operator to sign the Time to Change pledge and vow to tackle workplace stigma around mental health.
The company’s Group Chief Executive Martin Griffiths signed the pledge during the company’s Wellbeing and Safety Week, committing to a plan which will encourage Stagecoach employees to talk about mental health.
The announcement also coincides with World Mental Health Day today (10 October).
By signing the Time to Change pledge, Stagecoach is committing to deliver a comprehensive action plan that will promote mental wellbeing in the workplace and encourage employees to talk more about how they feel.
The plan includes the appointment of a new People Change Director responsible for people development and wellbeing, Michelle Hargreaves, who will lead on the company’s health and wellbeing initiatives. The company has pledged to set up a Wellbeing Champions Committee with representatives from each regional bus company.
Employees will also have access to mental health awareness and mental health first aid training and there will be a dedicated wellness section on the company intranet with advice and information on where support is available for employees.
This week Stagecoach also launched what is thought to be the largest corporate wellbeing scheme in the country as it announced the expansion of its Driving Fitness Together wellbeing programme to all UK Bus staff.
There are also a number of smaller initiatives taking place including the recent support of a body confidence event in Manchester and sponsorship of a positive mental health podcast which will be made available to employees.
Stagecoach Group Chief Executive, Martin Griffiths, said: “We know that life is stressful at times, and work can play a part that, so we feel strongly that it’s our role as a responsible employer to support our staff as best we possibly can.
“We have signed this pledge because the mental health and overall wellbeing of our people matters to us. We want to show our continued commitment to looking after our employees, to having a positive impact on the mental well-being of our staff, and to helping to remove the stigma that exists around mental health in the workplace.”
Time to Change is a growing social movement working to change the way people think and act about mental health problems.
Jo Loughran, Director of Time to Change, said: “We know it can be hard to talk about mental health, which is why we’re supporting employers to open up; to talk and to listen. Too many people with mental health problems are made to feel isolated, ashamed and worthless, but with the right support, those of us with mental health problems can recover and have equal opportunities in all areas of life. Everyone’s attitude makes a difference and it’s fantastic to see organisations like Stagecoach taking the lead.
“Many leading employers have found that making a strategic commitment to the mental wellbeing of their workforce not only benefits their staff but also their bottom-line, improving productivity and staff retention. With one in six British workers experiencing mental illness it's time for businesses to make a change and start creating more mentally healthy workplaces."
Stagecoach previously launched a ‘Pledge to help’ which aimed to improve the bus travel experience for customers with mental health conditions to allow them to travel with confidence by providing enhanced training and awareness programmes for employees to help break down barriers.