In the second of a series of CMHA member case studies published this year, we take a look at the work being undertaken within the Bank of England around mental health and wellbeing.
The Bank of England has a well-established range of services to support the wellbeing of its staff, including a full-time and two part-time accredited psychotherapists who work closely with the Bank’s medical team. Employees may also choose to self-refer for counselling via the Employee Assistance programme (EAP).
An active Mental Health Network for staff, supported by the most senior people in the Bank, works to raise awareness, improve understanding (and dispel misunderstanding) around mental health conditions and highlight the support available. The Bank signalled its commitment to helping combat the stigma associated with mental ill health by signing the Time to Change pledge in October 2013. In 2016 the Bank signalled its ongoing commitment to mental health on Time to Talk Day highlighting the activities of colleagues in the mental health arena.
Internal events designed to encourage an open discussion about mental health have been held with a range of relevant external speakers including Nick Clegg MP, Alastair Campbell, the former Director of Communications and Strategy in the Blair government, former Cabinet Secretary Lord Gus O’Donnell and wellbeing expert Professor Richard Layard of the London School of Economics. There are also regular question and answer panels where staff talk openly about their own experiences of mental ill health.
In conjunction with Mind, the Bank Workers’ Charity and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, the Bank has recently piloted a training programme in mental health among a group of 30 managers. On the basis of positive feedback from the managers who have participated, and their teams, the Bank is rolling out the training to as many managers as possible. The Bank has also just launched a network of Wellbeing Champions, to help raise awareness of the Wellbeing proposition to colleagues and line managers across the Bank. The network of Wellbeing Champions is intended to give more people the opportunity to access a range of information and sources of help on psychological, physical and social wellbeing.
“If people are experiencing issues relating to their mental health and, for example, in a state of anxiety it is important that they do not have to spend time searching for information on how to access support. So we were keen to make it very easy for people to navigate the Bank’s intranet and find what they are looking for,” says Linda Barnard, the Bank’s Senior staff counsellor.
The site features the new Wellbeing branding — ‘think well, live well, be well’ — along with a picture of a lifebuoy carrying the message ‘I need help now’. People clicking on the lifebuoy are taken immediately to a list of ‘Help available’, with ‘To talk to someone’ at the top of the list.