West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) is rallying the region to turn #BlueMondayGreen next week with the launch of the This is Me West Midlands campaign.
The campaign launches on Blue Monday, 21 January, which is claimed to be one of the most depressing days of the year.
Buildings around the region including the Library of Birmingham, the Grand Central Atrium, PwC offices at Snow Hill and Birmingham Cathedral will be green-lit on Monday 21 to mark the launch of This is Me and help turn #BlueMondayGreen.
Some 200 people, both employers and employees, will join a breakfast launch event at the Hawthorns, West Bromwich Albion FC’s ground, with guest speaker Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, who is supporting the campaign.
Organisers are urging people to wear green – the colour associated with mental health campaigns – in defiance of the blues.
Developed in London by the Lord Mayor’s Appeal, alongside partners including Barclays, Mind and Time to Change, This is Me is a pioneering campaign that challenges the stigma around mental health at work by supporting people to tell their own stories through video, blogs or other medium, a concept initiated by Barclays.
This is Me West Midlands is being led by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) along with the launch partners, Amey, Barclays, Deutsche Bank, Gowling WLG, KPMG, Birmingham Mind, Pinsent Masons, Public Health England and PwC.
Since launching in London in 2016, This is Me has gone on to be launched in Scotland and the North West, with over 500 companies registered, reaching more than one million employees.
Thrive West Midlands director Supt Sean Russell said the launch was a chance for everyone to show support for ending stigma around mental health and for employers to commit to building a supportive culture.
He said: “This is Me is a pioneering mental health campaign which aims to reduce the stigma around mental health in the workplace, dispel myths around poor mental health and raise awareness of the importance of wellbeing.
“Some 97% of organisations registered with This is Me believe the campaign has had a positive impact on reducing the stigma.
Ray O’Donoghue, Managing Director, Midlands Corporate Banking, Barclays said: “At Barclays, This is Me has enabled our colleagues to share their personal experiences about mental health and wellbeing. Colleagues at our regional HQ at Snow Hill, Birmingham have actively been involved and by sharing their own stories are encouraging so many more people to open up.
“This enables us to hold on to exceptional talent, better understand our customers and clients, and create an open and supportive workplace where everyone can bring their whole selves to work.”
Lisa Ingram, Head of Business Improvement for Amey in Birmingham, said: “'Putting People First' is one of Amey’s core values that underpins the way we work. In 2017, we signed the Time to Change employer pledge and implemented a national network of Mental Health Ambassadors to organise local activities to get people talking.
“We are delighted to be supporting the West Midlands launch of This Is Me, and are excited to share with other employers how focusing on good mental wellbeing has benefited our business, allowing us to create a workforce that is dynamic and inclusive, and provide an environment where our people can deliver great service and develop their talent.”
Visit www.wmca.org.uk/thisisme to find out more and register to the campaign.