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23 October 2018

Premier Foods signs pledge to change attitudes to mental health

To raise awareness about the importance of mental health in the workplace, Premier Foods signed an employer pledge with Time to Change in October. 

Time to Change* is the growing social movement run by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, which both support people with opening up to discuss mental health problems.  

Chief Executive Officer Gavin Darby and HR and Communications Director David Wilkinson demonstrated their support by signing the pledge. In doing so, Premier Foods is committing to changing the way people can think and act about mental health in the workplace, by breaking the silence and stigma. 

Premier Foods joins the wide movement of more than 800 organisations that have signed the Time to Change pledge, including E.ON, British Gas, Ernst & Young, Transport for London, Royal Mail, Barclays, Shell, Pepsico, the Church of England, Sunday Mirror, Marks and Spencer, WH Smiths and many NHS trusts, universities, and local authorities. 

Signing the pledge was part of a number of activities Premier Foods undertook to demonstrate its support for World Mental Health Day last week (October 10) which also raised a total of £2000 for mental health charity Mind. As well as a lunch time health walk in St Albans, employees based in the company’s factories in Lifton, Andover, Ashford, High Wycombe, Carlton, Worksop, Moreton, Charnwood and Stoke on Trent also wore blue and purple hair nets while working on the production lines. Employees working on these lines have to wear strict protective garments such as hair nets every day to prevent contamination. 

Chief Executive Officer Gavin Darby said: “I’m proud to join over 800 organisations in signing the Time to Change pledge and show that Premier Foods is committed to tackling the stigma and making our business a place to talk openly about mental health. 

“By signing the pledge we’re not only committing to changing how we think and act about mental health in the workplace, but we’re also uniting our colleagues to create an environment of openness, upskilling our workforce and providing support for those who need it.”  

Jo Loughran, Director of Time to Change, said: “We know it can be hard to talk about mental health, which is why we’re supporting employers to open up; to talk and to listen. Too many people with mental health problems are made to feel isolated, ashamed and worthless, but with the right support, those of us with mental health problems can recover and have equal opportunities in all areas of life. Everyone’s attitude makes a difference and it’s fantastic to see organisations like Premier Foods taking the lead.” 

David Wilkinson, HR and Communications Director at Premier Foods, said: “We’re committed to creating a great place to work. By signing the pledge we’re showing that we live our values and respect and encourage one another, enabling everyone to do their best without judgement or discrimination.   

“Our colleagues chose Mind as our corporate charity partner and we’ll continue to work together to help signpost colleagues to support services, speak openly about mental health and boost colleague wellbeing across our business.” 

*Time to Change is funded by the Department of Health, Comic Relief and the Big Lottery Fund.  Set up to create a positive shift in public attitudes towards mental health problems, Time to Change supports communities, schools and workplaces to open up to mental health problems; to talk and to listen. 

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