Brighter Berkshire will this week step up calls for region’s businesses to support mental health £1 per Employee campaign which will strengthen region’s network. We will be issuing a press release across the region with our call to action.

Brighter Berkshire, the community-led initiative which aims to reduce stigma and improve everyone’s mental health, is calling for the region’s businesses to help transform the way we manage mental health in the county.

One in four adults in the UK currently has a mental health problem, affecting the lives of tens of millions of people. The OECD has put the economic cost to the UK at £70 to £100 billion a year.

Brighter Berkshire has launched A Year of Mental Health 2017, using the power of networks, collaboration and sharing positive stories to change the way we manage mental health in the county. Schools, sports, services and the arts can make a small pledge to do one thing to make an impact, linking to local charities to drive this change.

We’re now calling on businesses to get involved to:

  • Make a pledge to improve the mental health of your workforce
  • Create a work opportunity for someone with a mental health problem
  • Donate £1PerEmployee programme, encouraging employers to donate £1PerEmployee towards a collaborative effort across the county to improve mental health. With statistics showing that mental health issues cost businesses £1,000+ per employee, these vital funds will drive Brighter Berkshire’s events, increase awareness, strengthen support networks across the region and work towards a goal of raising £1million by the end of the year to go to local charities and initiatives aimed at making a lasting difference to the mental health of the Berkshire population.

Cisco, the worldwide IT leader, whose UK offices are headquartered in Berkshire, is drawing on its leadership in the mental health area to set a template for other businesses.

Its award-winning strategy includes training mental health first aiders, addressing mental health in its young leaders and apprentices as well as hosting coffee mornings where people with a mental health issue can receive support.

Phil Smith, Chairman of Cisco UK comments, “We understand the importance of supporting the whole individual to grow, develop and succeed in work and in life. There are many aspects to mental health from helping staff understand their strengths and potential, to managing change and dealing with failure. Stress can have a big effect on individuals, teams and on the business. Our economy relies on us taking this issue seriously as mental health related issues cost on average £1000 a year per employee.

Phil adds, “It’s very easy in a successful tech company to get carried away on a constant drive to be the best. But we will only succeed in this if we value the difference each one of our employees brings, ensure a strong message to look after your mental health and encourage them to speak up when they need support so they get help as soon as possible.”

Richard Benyon, MP for Newbury, who has been supporting the Brighter Berkshire campaign, said, ‘The £1perEmployee scheme is an easy way for businesses to get involved with this initiative and make a real contribution to better mental health. It’s a fact that many mental health problems start in the workplace and by supporting this scheme employers will be showing that they take the well-being of their employees seriously and are prepared to take steps to help them. This makes sense on every level and I will be encouraging businesses across my constituency to take this up.’

Alison Foster, founder of Brighter Berkshire adds, “Our aim is to build the largest countywide network of diverse people, ideas and voluntary commitment to come together to improve mental health. We’re hugely grateful to Cisco for their support and driving a culture of openness around mental health. Mental health problems often start in the workplace so it’s vital employers understand how to respond effectively and compassionately to support the best outcome. It’s time for action. We need to foster this change within other businesses in Berkshire so we’re urging all employers to get involved.”