Hampshire employee with mental health issues speaks out in support of Time to Talk drive

Sue Forber, peer support manager for Solent Mind
Sue Forber, peer support manager for Solent Mind
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A BRAVE worker has spoken of her mental health problems and welcomed renewed efforts to support workers struggling to cope.

Sue Forber, peer support manager for Solent Mind, which works with vulnerable people in the region, spoke in support of Time to Talk Day, a national campaign to help break the silence around mental health.

Often we can be really fearful about talking to our employers about mental health problems, because we think it will affect our careers and may lose us our job.

Sue Forber, peer support manager for Solent Mind

Solent Mind is one of 460 organisations that have signed a Time to Change pledge to break down stigmas associated with mental health in the workplace.

The organisation gave staff the opportunity yesterday to chat about any issues they had over morning breakfast.

Ms Forber said: ‘I live with long-term mental health problems myself and I have previously lost a job because of my mental health.

‘So bringing an end to the stigma in mental health is really, really important.

‘Solent Mind has signed up to the Time to Change employers’ pledge because we know how important it is for people like myself who live with mental health problems.

‘Often we can be really fearful about talking to our employers about mental health problems, because we think it will affect our careers and may lose us our job.

‘One in four of us will have mental health problems at some point.

‘People do recover, get on with their lives and get support. But the more people feel unable to talk and not feel emotionally stable, because of their mental health, the more we are not able to support these people.

‘Just being able to have conversations about mental health in the workplace is really key.’

Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt, a minister in the government’s Department for Work & Pensions, has urged employers to create an environment where staff can open up about problems and talk about them through a DWP video on Twitter.

She said: ‘One in six people in the British workforce, have a mental health illness, but only half of those people feel able to talk to their employer about it.

‘That’s awful for them, but it’s also bad for British business and British productivity.

‘We need to change that.’

She added: ‘We need to create an environment where the workforce feel able to talk to their employers about these issues.

‘But it’s not just up to the boss and management, it’s up to all of us as work colleagues to provide that environment for our colleagues.’