Startups advised to adopt wellbeing pledge following World Mental Health Day

Employers should be encouraged to "bring their full selves to work" in a bid to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health in the workplace

Start-ups and small businesses have been advised to adopt a ‘mental health pledge’ following World Mental Health Day (Tuesday 10 October).

An initiative launched by Sanctus, business owners have been urged to make a promise that employees can “Bring Your Full Self to Work” – in support of mental health.

Working with over 20 partners to provide mental health coaching in the workplace, Sanctus want to see a world where mental health is treated in exactly the same way as physical health.

Its Mental Health Pledge outlines a radical yet practical framework for businesses to support mental health in the workplace, so people can be themselves without any fear.

The pledge is:

“We pledge to create an open environment where mental health is supported, and people can bring their full selves to work”.

Companies already signed up include Young Gun-founded Onfido, Makers Academy and carwow, as well as Startups 100-ranked Lexoo and Goodlord. 

Other businesses backing the initiative include Red Bull, Cranberry Panda, Major Players, CharlieHR, The Eleven, Citizen, Wonderbly, Grant Tree, CEW Communications, Episode 1, Born Social, Learnerbly, and Forward3D.

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What should business owners do to further support mental health wellbeing?

Sanctus advises business owners and entrepreneurs to:

  • Discuss mental and physical wellbeing in one to one conversations
  • Allow mental health days for staff and ensure that mental health issues aren’t a permanent barrier to career progression

The initiative was inspired by the story of Madelyn Parker, a US web developer who took a sick day for her mental wellbeing.

A decision backed by her employer, Madelyn’s story went viral after she shared an email exchange with her boss on Twitter.

James Routledge, founder of Sanctus, said:

“We saw Madelyn’s tweet and the response it got and thought, that should be the standard, not the exception!

”We work with businesses who are pioneering progressive approaches to mental health in the workplace and have seen the benefits. There’s a lot of talk about mental health, but few people are actually taking action.”

George Bettany, co-founder of Sanctus, said:

“Any business can sign this Pledge, no matter where they are on their journey and it can be implemented very cheaply and easily.

“We hope to see a wide range of businesses adopting the Pledge. Everyone has mental health and every organisation has the capability to promote it at work.”