Today is World Mental Health day, so I wanted to highlight the support available for Co-op colleagues who might be struggling, or those who are supporting someone else with mental health problems.

One in four of us will be diagnosed with a mental illness at some point in our lives, and 19% of long-term sickness absence in England is caused by mental ill health. Sometimes we might experience mental health concerns that last a few weeks or months, or we might have more serious long-term issues. Our mental health can also change over time, just like our physical health does.

Hopefully, by addressing stigma and discrimination in the workplace, we can help people feel they can come forward and ask for support.

Our new policy and employee helpline

Last week we announced our new mental health policy which encourages you to talk about your mental health, and gives you information about support available. It also includes links to information sheets, and a wellbeing action plan.

As a Co-op colleague you also have access to 24/7 confidential advice and support from our Employee Assistance Programme. It’s run by an independent company called Validium, who has lots of experience of running these services for employers. They won’t know you, your team structure or who your manager is, and they don’t report back to us, so you can chat in total confidence. There are a few ways to contact them, and you can find these details on our colleague website.

This Mental Health Day, why not take a moment to speak to the people around you, and check in with each other.

Sharon Pegg
Inclusion and Diversity Manager