Wiltshire Council has joined more than 450 other organisations across the country by signing a pledge which aims to remove the stigma associated with mental health in the workplace. The signing of the ‘Time to Change Employer Pledge’ by the council’s corporate leadership team was the centrepiece of a series of events marking Mental Health Awareness Week (8 to 12 May). A number of staff workshops were held to highlight the signs, symptoms and effects of common mental health illnesses and to encourage staff to feel able to talk about mental health issues and perhaps prompt earlier access to support and treatment. Staff were also given daily tips to help promote positive mental health and wellbeing and had the opportunity to read some real-life stories about how colleagues have dealt with their own experience of mental ill-health. So far, more than 500 council staff have also made a personal pledge to promote positive mental health amongst their teams. The council will keep the mental health of staff as a key priority and has already made plans to increase accessibility to training and support for staff and to establish senior manager and elected member champions to give a high profile visibility to the issue. One in four British workers are affected by conditions like anxiety, depression and stress every year and mental ill-health is the leading cause of sickness absence in the UK. Carlton Brand and Carolyn Godfrey, Wiltshire Council’s corporate directors said: “The wellbeing of our staff is so important to us and we want to fully support anyone who experiences any type of mental health problem. We want to be in a position where we and our colleagues can spot the warning signs and help get someone the support they need as early as possible. “This pledge and the work we’re doing will also help foster a working environment where people feel more comfortable talking about their mental health with their managers and colleagues, safe in the knowledge they will be listened to and fully supported.” Time to Change is England’s biggest programme to challenge mental health stigma and discrimination and is run by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness. For further details people should visit www.time-to-change.org.uk. More information about Mental Health Awareness Week can be found at www.mentalhealth.org.uk.