Voluntary Arts staff and board signing the Time to Change pledge card

The attitudes of others stop people with mental health problems getting the help and support they need. Too many people with mental health problems are made to feel isolated, ashamed and worthless.

Time to Change – the campaign to end mental health discrimination – encourages organisations to sign its Employer Pledge: "to demonstrate your commitment to change how we think and act about mental health in the workplace and make sure that employees who are facing these problems feel supported."

Voluntary Arts has joined a growing movement of more than 450 employers across all sectors, from FTSE 100 companies and leading retailers to Government departments and local authorities, by signing the Time to Change Employer Pledge. Time to Change is run by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness and supports people to open up to mental health problems.

At its meeting in February 2017 the Voluntary Arts Board committed the organisation to signing the Time to Change Employer Pledge. Time to Change advises that to achieve lasting change within the workplace, it’s important to create a plan of tangible activity to break down mental health stigma. The Voluntary Arts Diversity Panel helped to develop an Employer Pledge Action Plan for the organisation which was submitted to Time to Change for approval.

The Voluntary Arts Action Plan identifies tangible activities that the organisation will take over the coming year to support the following seven key principles:

  • demonstrating senior level buy-in
  • demonstrating accountability and recruiting employee champions
  • raising awareness about mental health
  • updating and implementing policies to address mental health problems in the workplace
  • asking staff to share personal experiences of mental health problems
  • equipping line managers to have conversations about mental health
  • providing information about mental health and signposting to support services.

Voluntary Arts Chair, Louise de Winter, formally signed the Time to Change Employer Pledge in front of all Voluntary Arts staff and Trustees at our annual awayday in New Lanark on 23 May 2017.

Louise de Winter, Chair of Voluntary Arts, said:

I am really pleased that Voluntary Arts is supporting Time to Change and is taking a positive stance towards mental health. With 1 in 4 people experiencing a mental health condition each year, it is hard to believe that any employer can be unaffected and it is right that we provide the best possible support to our staff and volunteers. At Voluntary Arts we are privileged to see the positive effects that the collective and practical nature of arts activities can have on our physical and mental well being, and I hope that our Pledge action plan can also help to banish any stigma attached to mental health.

Proud to support Time to Change

Time to Change is funded by the Department of Health, Comic Relief and the Big Lottery Fund. Set up to create a positive shift in public attitudes towards mental health problems, Time to Change supports communities, schools and workplaces to open up to mental health problems; to talk and to listen.

Find out more about Time to Change, the Employer Pledge and the Individual Pledge on their website – and join Voluntary Arts in changing how we think and act about mental health in the workplace.