Businesses across the UK are being urged to ‘turn their business green’ to help support the end of stigma surrounding mental health in the workplace.
The Lord Mayor’s Appeal is encouraging employees to digitally share green ribbons to show their support for ending the stigma around mental health in the workplace. Through This is Me and The Green Ribbon Campaign, The Lord Mayor’s Appeal wants to enable organisations to support their people with their wellbeing, coming together as a community this Mental Health Awareness Week, 10-16 May 2021.
The Green Ribbon campaign has been running for five years, and has sold over 170,000 Green Ribbons to companies based from Aberdeen to Cornwall. In 2018, high profile buildings from the Houses of Parliament to Mansion House, Guildhall to Emirates Stadium, were lit up green to show solidarity.
We’re all used to working remotely these days, and have seen some benefits. No commute, extra time in bed, and more time to focus on physical health. But lockdown, isolation and lack of physical and social stimulus is having an impact on our mental health. We’re used to water cooler chatter, walking to the tube with a colleague, spending time together at lunch time – all those interactions that video calls just can’t replicate.
Mental health is critical to recovery from COVID-19. Businesses should see mental health as business critical – for employee wellbeing, business productivity, and the bottom line. Mental health related absence is the most common cause of long-term sickness in UK workplaces. Even pre-pandemic, work-related stress, depression or anxiety accounted for 44% of work-related ill health and 54% of working days lost. Mental ill health is costing employers between £33 billion and £42 billion every year.
Only half (41%) of employees would feel confident speaking about mental health in the workplace. But for every £1 spent by employers on mental health interventions they get £5 back in reduced absence, presenteeism and staff turnover.
The Green Ribbons
- Create a visible movement of support for ending the stigma.
- Show those struggling that there is support and that they are not alone.
- Demonstrate the level of support for wellbeing within your workplace.
- Encourage people to share their story to create inclusive workplace cultures.
The charity has created materials and assets that can help employees and colleagues spread the Green Ribbon message online. They are offering a range of digital assets this year to help raise awareness around mental health. These include origami green ribbons, mindful colouring sheets, social media cover photos, posts, email signatures, and digital signage.
As well as wearing a green ribbon on their profile picture, employees are encouraged able to give one, digitally, to a colleague or employee to share kindness and connect at during these difficult times. The idea is that by sharing a green ribbon anyone can show support and solidarity for positive wellbeing, no matter where they are.
Employees are also encouraged to share their Green Ribbon profile picture with the hashtag #endthestigma. The hope is that the campaign will spread far and wide, and that going digital will increase its inclusivity, enabling colleagues from all over the world to participate. In 2020 over people and organisations from over 73 locations took part.
The theme for 2021’s Mental Health Awareness Week is ‘nature’ and as spring is here and the weather is improving it’s a great time to get out and about and appreciate our outdoors. The Appeal would love to see people share photos of their green ribbon in green spaces.
What are The Lord Mayor’s Appeal offering this year?
The Lord Mayor’s Appeal are offering a range of digital assets this year to help raise awareness around mental health. These include origami green ribbons, mindful colouring sheets, social media cover photos, posts, email signatures, and digital signage. Whether you want to take part in one activity, or encourage your employees to participate in a number, we have a variety of different options available to help you show kindness to yourself and others.
How do I get involved?
Simply download the resources that you would like to use from the Green Ribbon website. The charity are making it as easy as possible for you to take part in the campaign online, so you can also download Green Ribbon toolkit with further instructions on how to plan and share your campaign with your networks and colleagues, and support one another to #endthestigma.
What has this got to do with kindness?
The theme for 2020’s Mental Health Awareness Week is ‘kindness’ and The Lord Mayor’s Appeal believe that showing support for a colleague is a kind act that anyone can do, and spending time engaging in an activity shows kindness to yourself.
Is there a cost?
You are welcome to donate to The Lord Mayor’s Appeal if you’d like to raise money to help #endthestigma, though the campaign’s primary aim is to raise awareness around mental health.
What is This is Me and the Green Ribbon campaign?
This is Me is committed to changing attitudes around mental health and strives to create healthier and more inclusive workplaces by reducing stigma, dispelling myths, and improving employee wellbeing for good. It does this through three key strands which are:
- This is Me Storytelling: Organisations encourage their employees to open the conversation around mental health by sharing their personal experiences, be of their own challenges or of supporting a loved one. This is framed with other characteristics of the person so that mental ill-health feels like a part, rather than all, of that person. By sharing stories, myths, stereotypes, and challenges, it helps lessen the stigma and helps make it ok to speak about mental health.
- The Green Ribbon: Organisations encourage their employees to wear green ribbons to raise awareness of mental ill-health and visibly show their support for ending the stigma around mental health. You can order your green ribbons here – www.thelordmayorsappeal.org/a-healthy-city/the-green-ribbon
- Wellbeing in the Workplace: Organisations upskill their employees in having conversations about mental health. Using the Samaritans Listening Wheel, employees learn how to actively listen and increase their confidence in approaching someone who is in distress. https://www.thelordmayorsappeal.org/a-healthy-city/wellbeing-in-the-workplace