Mental health is a major growing issue in the UK with one in four people experiencing mental ill-health in any given year. Although when receiving the right support, 70% of people with mental health problems fully recover, only 51% of employees would feel confident disclosing their problem with their line manager (Source: BiTC).
The Lord Mayor’s Appeal team recently spoke with Anastasia, Junior Recruiter at the Bank of England. When asking Anastasia to summarise her experience of the Green Ribbon campaign in one sentence, she said that “people should not underestimate the power of the campaign”.
Anastasia had thought a lot about wearing a green ribbon for the campaign but she was also worried of the potential stigma she would bring to herself. She decided to wait and see what her colleagues would do on the first day of Mental Health Awareness Week 2017. When she arrived at work, she was amazed by the number of colleagues wearing a green ribbon, which had now run out, and of hearing conversations about colleagues’ own experiences of mental health.
Having suffered from anxiety and depression for the past 7 years, mental health is something I feel very strongly about. For a long period of time I was surrounded by cultures both personal and professional which made me feel like I couldn’t be open or honest about my experiences. The Bank of England was the first organisation in which I felt supported enough to be open about my experiences. The Green Ribbon campaign in 2017 actually prompted me to disclose my depression and anxiety to my colleagues, friends and family for the first time.
After the campaign, Anastasia decided to open up to her relatives, her line manager and co-workers. The positive response changed her own perception of mental health. She has since joined and now co-chairs the Bank’s Mental Health Network ensuring:
- increased awareness around mental health through educational activities,
- offer of support is in place and people know when or who to go to when they need.
Anastasia explained that employees receive a lot of support from Human Resources and in return through the Mental Health Network, they are able to influence positively HR policies. She shared that the campaign, the Mental Health Network and other related activities were “giving a sense of community” and showed that “people are not alone”.
As part of its new 3-year strategy, The Lord Mayor’s Appeal through the Green Ribbon campaign alongside This is Me pioneers mental health initiatives to #endthestigma in the workplace. It raises awareness among corporate and civil society organisations and currently works with the likes of Barclays, PwC, Aon, Mind and Time to Change by giving them tools to campaign internally, a space for their employees to share stories and to #endthestigma around mental health.
During Mental Health Awareness Week (14-20 May 2018), the Green Ribbon campaign will create a visible movement for those experiencing mental health issues. This is a great opportunity for organisations and their employees to show their support to their colleagues by wearing a green ribbon, encouraging people to start the conversation to #endthestigma and help foster a supportive working environment.
The first Green Ribbon campaign piloted in 2017 smashed all expectations, with:
- Over 165 organisations (corporate and public sector) taking part in sharing 85,000 ribbons, potentially reaching over 400,000 employees.
- Over 10 iconic London buildings turning green for Mental Health Awareness Week including the National Theatre and the Sky Garden (Walkie-Talkie building).
- 100% of participating organisations recommended the campaign.
What can your organisation do for the Green Ribbon campaign 2018?
There are many ways companies can participate and promote the campaign:
- Order Green Ribbons and distribute them to your employees.
- Share our messages on LinkedIn, Twitter (@LMAppeal) and Instagram (@thelordmayorsappeal) especially during Mental Health Awareness Week (14-20 May 2018).
- Share information about the campaign to your networks in a newsletter, blog or at an event, they can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Share our website story which can be viewed here
- Share information about the campaign on your website.
- Turn London Green: if your building has outdoor lighting capacity, see if you can turn it green during Mental Health Awareness Week (14-20 May 2018).
The green ribbon has the simple, but powerful, message of “Together we can #endthestigma” and will be worn by thousands of employees across the City and beyond during Mental Health Awareness Week (14-20 May 2018).