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Breathe are committing to changing the stigma around mental health

2 min read  |   15 January, 2019   By Sarah Benstead


At Breathe we’re committed to building a positive culture that supports mental health and understands that the personal is not out of scope in the workplace. Statistics reveal that one in four British workers are affected by conditions like anxiety, depression and stress every year, making mental health a subject that we cannot overlook, for the health of our people and our business.

To demonstrate our commitment at the first of our company meetings this year, Breathe CEO Jonathan Richards signed the Time to Change Employer Pledge. This confirms our commitment to building a positive culture that supports mental health and is inclusive and accessible to all of our people.

Time to change pledge_compressed-minJonathan with onboarding manager Sophie Crossman
as Breathe celebrate the signing of the Time To Change pledge

On signing the pledge, Jonathan says, “I don’t believe in work-life balance. I think it’s a myth. Instead, I think that work and life blend together. So, you can’t expect the people you work with to leave their personal situations at home, that includes their mental health. That’s why it's important that, as an employer, Breathe works to support the mental health of our employees at all levels of the organisation and understands that the personal is not out of scope in the workplace.”

Time to Change is a social movement that was set up in 2007 with the mission of ending mental health discrimination. Their research shows they are having a positive impact on the perceptions of mental health; their national surveys show that the overall attitude trend towards mental health is positive, having increased by nearly 10% since 2008. That’s an estimated 4.1 million people with improved attitudes surrounding mental health.

To move forward with our pledge, we have submitted an action plan detailing what we will do, as a business, to raise awareness of mental health at all levels of the company and provide our people with the support that they need.

Examples of our initiatives include:

  • Taking the current pulse of how well current initiatives are working to identify areas for improvement
  • Equipping line managers and employees with the tools they need to prevent and manage ill mental health
  • Promoting and running tech switch off days
  • Clearly signposting support services
  • Increasing the visibility of company policies

Nearly 1,000 business including ITV, Asos, Virgin Media, and The Princes Trust have all committed to the Time to Change Employer Pledge.

Tackling the stigma can make a real difference to sickness absence rates, presenteeism levels, and staff wellbeing, productivity, and retention. Since signing the pledge 95% of employers said it had a positive impact on their business. That just goes to show that looking after the mental health of your employees makes business sense. And we’re proud to be making this commitment to our people and our business – it’s a no brainer.

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