Axminster is supporting mental health awareness and has organised a week of activities for staff to take part in. Such activities range from mindful exercises to a 10,000 step challenge. Plus, staff are encouraged to give each other mutual appreciation to engender a feeling of mental and emotional wellbeing. Furthermore, to support this activity Managing Director Alan Styles has signed the ‘Time to Change Employer Pledge’. This is a 12-month employer action plan committed to changing the way people think and act about mental health in the workplace.

Time to change

Time to Change’ is the charity leading mental health awareness. Also, it is the force behind the ‘Pledge’ and quotes the following statistics on its website:

  • Conditions such as anxiety, depression and stress affect one in four British workers every year;
  • Mental ill-health is the leading cause of sickness absence in the UK;
  • Nine out of ten people who experience mental health problems say they face stigma and discrimination which can be even more damaging;
  • 300,000 people leave their place of work each year due to poor mental health.

Alan Styles signing the pledge
Alan Styles signing the pledge

The need to eradicate stigma and discrimination

Axminster's HR team have become increasingly aware of the potential problems, which can arise through poor mental health, including stigma and discrimination. Therefore, the company is carrying out a number of initiatives to help tackle this significant issue.

"We are already working with the Axminster-based charity Arc, which specialises in recovery through counselling. Two Arc counsellors are available if staff wish to attend workplace counselling sessions. Most managers have attended a training programme about mental health which Arc have provided and we are offering all staff mental health workshops if they wish to attend," explained HR Director Jane Boulton.

As a family company, we want to help encourage openness about mental health and to erase the stigma around this. Staff should feel able to disclose their personal experiences and feel more confident about making managers or colleagues aware of their experience.