Some of Scotland's biggest firms have joined with charities to reduce stigma around mental health at work
Charities and businesses have teamed up in a bid to improve mental health in the workplace.
Financial firm PwC, Barclays, Business in the Community Scotland, SAMH and Samaritans launched the This is Me Scotland initiative this week.
Described by Scottish Government as an important step, the initiative aims to reduce the stigma of mental health and break the culture of workplace silence by supporting people to tell their own stories.
The launch, which follows World Mental Health Day, mirrors similar initiatives in other parts of the UK. Since first launching in 2016, This Is Me has reached 750,000 people and signed up almost 500 businesses to its pledge.
Along with the launch partners, Pinsent Masons, Martin Currie, the Student Loans Company and Baillie Gifford are all on the This Is Me Scotland Steering Committee.
More than 150 professionals came together at PwC’s Glasgow offices for the This Is Me Scotland launch to demonstrate their belief in the importance of talking about mental health.
Guest speaker Scott Hastings, the former Scotland, British & Irish Lions rugby international, and an ambassador for Support in Mind Scotland, spoke about the importance of good mental health, and making workers more comfortable discussing their mental health.
Hastings said: "I believe that the This Is Me Scotland programme is a game changer that will reduce the stigma of mental health in the workplace.
“It will also encourage more people to talk about mental health and wellness in a work environment and lead to more inclusive workplaces. The fact that so many companies are supporting This is Me, is to be applauded and I am looking forward to expressing my support of the campaign today."
PwC appointed its first full time Mental Health Leader in January 2016 and in the same year a group of wellbeing champions launched Green Light to Talk, aimed at encouraging mental health awareness and more open conversations at work. Green Light to Talk has gone on to become a global success story, reaching hundreds of thousands of workers.
Philippe Guijarro, an Edinburgh-based partner in PwC, has spearheaded the Scottish launch and is the founding chairman of This Is Me Scotland. He said: “More businesses of all shapes and sizes are beginning to realise how important it is to be mindful of the mental health and wellbeing of their employees. The launch of This Is Me Scotland, will help improve that further by letting people know that it’s okay to talk openly about mental help."
James Jopling, executive director for Samaritans in Scotland, said that support in the workplace is vital.
He said: “The group is a huge step forward in marking a commitment from the nation’s employers that your wellbeing matters and that you shouldn’t be afraid to speak out if you are struggling to cope.
“Reducing our nation’s suicide rate is a big challenge that will need collaboration from us all and employers have a valuable role to play in this too.”