Wednesday 10 October is World Mental Health Day – a day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma. I’m delighted to see colleagues from across the bank come together again to share their personal stories, participate in events and show support for the colleagues they work beside and the customers they serve. 

In my four years as Executive Sponsor for Wellbeing, I’ve been proud to witness the change in culture at RBS. We signed the Time to Change pledge in 2014 to demonstrate our commitment to changing how we think and act about mental health, as an organisation. Since then, we’ve developed a four pillared Wellbeing strategy – with mental and emotional wellbeing a key pillar, alongside; physical health, social and financial wellbeing.

We aim to provide our colleagues with the help and resources they need to support their mental health. We’ve introduced Mental Health Awareness training for employees and line managers and continue to promote the services available through our external partners and Employee Assistance Programme. We’ve also created guides to enable employees and line managers to speak openly about mental health and continue to host events, webinars and audios throughout the year to enhance awareness and understanding.

This year we dedicated a month long focus to employee wellbeing through our campaign, Live Well Being You. Our mental health focus aligned with Mental Health Awareness Week. It was during this week where we hosted our second annual mental health conference in Edinburgh. Over 200 colleagues, customers and employees from local organisations came together to learn more about mental health from industry experts, charities and a variety of businesses.

However, it’s important that we don’t stop there. I believe that we need to keep the conversation going. We know that one in four people will experience a mental health problem each year. All of us will be impacted by poor mental health at some point in our lives, whether personally or through a family member or a friend.

We all have mental health, as we all have physical health. The more we talk about this, the more normal this conversation becomes. That’s why my personal commitment is to do just that – keep the conversation going. I’ll be hosting a call that colleagues can join me on next week. This will allow me to update on the progress we’re making and provide the opportunity to share experiences, thoughts and promote open discussions.  

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