Ombudsman signs Time to Change pledge
In a demonstration of her commitment to making the OSCO a supportive work environment, Nicola Williams, the Service Complaints Ombudsman for the Armed Forces signed the Time to Change pledge this afternoon. In doing so, the OSCO has joined the ranks of over 700 employers in England who have signed the pledge.
Time to Change is a campaign that aims to change the way we talk and think about mental health in order to remove the stigma and end discrimination
Employers signing the pledge are required to develop an action plan for their organisation. The action plan sets out how the organisation will address employee wellbeing and create an environment where mental health issues can be discussed.
Upon hearing the statistics on mental health issues in the workplace the Ombudsman was moved to act. Namely that:
- 1 in 4 British workers are affected by conditions like anxiety, depression and stress every year
- Mental ill-health is the leading cause of sickness absence in the UK, costing an average of £1,035 per employee per year
- 95% of employees calling in sick with stress gave a different reason
In signing the pledge the Ombudsman said:
“My office has signed the Time to Change pledge as a clear demonstration of my commitment to making the OSCO a safe and supportive work environment.
I am acutely aware of the pressures faced by my frontline staff in managing high volume workloads. Cases can concern sensitive or distressing matters, and complainants themselves could be experiencing mental health problems, including stress and anxiety. Mental Health First Aid for the Armed Forces training is mandatory for all of our Investigators and Enquiries and Referrals Officers. This ensures they have the knowledge and skills required to work effectively with complainants. However, that doesn’t go far enough. We still need to provide them with a workplace where they can openly discuss issues that are affecting them and be given the support they need. The pledge helps us to clearly set this out.
The stigma that surrounds mental health is exceptionally destructive. It marginalises people and can prevent them from getting the support they need. It is time to change the way we view and talk about mental health issues that we can break down those barriers.”
For further information on Time to Change go to – www.timetochange.org.uk