Agenda Item No

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

Cabinet Meeting: 27 April, 2015

Report of the Leader

"Time to Change" Wales Organisational Pledge

Purpose of the Report

1. To commit the Council to signing the "Time to Change" Wales Organisational Pledge.


1. That the Council commits to signing the "Time to Change" Wales Organisational Pledge during 2015, if possible to coincide with the UK wide event "Mental Health Awareness Week", on 11th-17th May.


2. That Cabinet gives consideration to the appointment of a Council 'champion' for Time to Change Wales, to act as the Council's signatory to the Time to Change Wales Organisational Pledge.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1 - 2.   To reduce the stigma faced by people with mental health problems.


2. Time to Change Wales is the first national campaign to end the stigma and discrimination faced by people with mental health problems. The campaign seeks to improve the knowledge and understanding of mental illness, and to get people talking about mental health.


3. The most commonly diagnosed mental health conditions are depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and personality disorders.


4. People often find it hard to tell others about a mental health problem they have because they fear the reaction. When they do speak up, the overwhelming majority say they are misunderstood by family members, shunned and ignored by friends, work colleagues and professionals or called names or worse by neighbours.


5. Psychiatric patients are four times more likely than the average not to have a close friend and more than a third say they have no one to turn to for help.


6. Attitudes to mental health in Wales were illustrated by data collected in 2013 for Time to Change Wales. 1 in 7 believe that people with a mental illness can never fully recover; 1 in 7 believe that as soon as a person shows signs of mental illness they should be hospitalised; 1 in 10 people believe that people with mental health problems are less trustworthy than people without; 1 in 4 people believe that people with mental health problems should not be allowed to hold public office; nearly 1 in 10 people believe that people with mental health problems should not be given any responsibility; 1 in 10 people believe that people with mental health problems should not be allowed to have children; 1 in 5 people believe that people with mental health problems are unpredictable; over two thirds of respondents believe that the proportion of the population faced by mental health problems is 1 in 10 or lower; and over a quarter of people said that being around someone with mental illness can make them feel uncomfortable.


7. 1 in 4 people have a mental health problem. (Office for National Statistics, Psychiatric Morbidity (2007)); the overall cost of mental health problems in Wales is an estimated £7.2 billion a year (Mental Health Research Network (2009) Promoting mental health and preventing mental illness: the economic case for investment in Wales); by 2020 mental ill health related problems will be second to heart disease as the leading contributor to the global burden of disease (World Health Organization); 53% of Welsh women suffer from low level mental health problems (Women Like Me, Supporting Wellbeing in Girls and Women, Platform 51,2011); self-harm is a significant problem in Wales, as a result there are 6,000 emergency admissions to hospital per year (Talk to Me, Suicide and Self Harm reduction strategy for Wales, WAG, 2008); 300 people die by suicide each year in Wales, and 150,000 have thoughts of suicide (Talk to Me, Suicide and Self Harm reduction strategy for Wales, WAG, 2008); in 2010-11 there were 11,198 admissions (excluding place of safety detentions) to mental health facilities in Wales  (Admission of Patients to Mental Health Facilities, 2010-11, Welsh Government, 2011); and the rate of suicide for men in Wales is higher than UK average (Talk to Me, Suicide and Self Harm reduction strategy for Wales, WAG, 2008).


8. 4 in 10 employees are afraid to disclose mental health problems to their employer. (Focus on Managing and Supporting Mental Health at Work, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (2011) ); 1 in 10 who disclosed a mental health problem said colleagues made snide remarks, and 1 in 10 reported that colleagues avoided them (Out of Work: A survey of the experiences of people with mental health problems within the workplace. Mental Health Foundation (2002)).


9. Less than a quarter of people with a long term mental health problem are employed, the lowest rate for any disability group (Office of National Statistics, Labour Force Survey, 2003). Only about 1 in 10 people in Psychiatric care has a job, and typically they earn two thirds of the average national hourly rate (Huxley P and Thornicroft G, Social Inclusion, Social Quality and Mental Illness. British Journal of Psychiatry pp 289-90, 2003).


10. 35% of adults with long term mental health conditions say they want to work (compared with 28% of those with other health problems).  (Office of National Statistics, Labour Force Survey, 2003). People with mental health problems are at more than twice the risk of losing their jobs compared with the general population (Mental Health and Social Exclusion Unit, London, 2004).


11. Fewer than 4 in 10 employers would consider hiring a person with a mental health problem, compared with more than 6 in 10 who would hire a person with a physical disability (Mental Health and Social Exclusion Unit, London, 2004).


12. The Sainsbury Centre (2007) has estimated that impaired work efficiency (‘presenteeism’) due to mental ill health costs £15.1 billion, or £605 for every employee in the United Kingdom which is almost twice the estimated £8.4 billion annual cost of absenteeism (Mental Health and Work, Royal College of Psychiatrists, 2008).


13. At any one time, one sixth of the working age population of Great Britain experience symptoms associated with mental ill health such as sleep problems, fatigue, irritability and worry that do not meet criteria for a diagnosis of a mental disorder but which can affect a person’s ability to function adequately (Office for National Statistics, 2001).  A further one sixth of the working age population have symptoms that by virtue of their nature, severity and duration do meet diagnostic criteria (Office for National Statistics, 2001). These common mental disorders would be treated should they come to the attention of a healthcare professional. The commonest of these disorders are depression, anxiety or a mix of the two.  (Mental Health and Work, Royal College of Psychiatrists, 2008).


14. The Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies states that around 70m working days were lost to mental illness last year, costing the UK economy £70 to £100bn. She says in her annual report that the number of working days lost to stress, depression and anxiety has risen by 24% since 2009, yet 75% of people with diagnosable mental illness get no treatment at all.


15. She said, "One of the stark issues highlighted in this report is that 60 to 70% of people with common mental disorders such as depression and anxiety are in work, so it is crucial that we take action to help those people stay in employment to benefit their own health as well as the economy."


16. Mark Winstanley, chief executive of Rethink Mental Illness, said that for many people with mental illness, having a job can be a crucial part of managing their condition and staying well. He said, "But often people get very little support to go back to work after a period of mental illness, or to stay in employment," he said. "Many employers also assume that if you have a mental health problem, you won't be able to hold down a job." More specialist help to get people with mental illness back into the workplace and greater understanding from employers was needed, he said. But those who were unable to work because of their condition should not be demonised.


17. For the Financial year 2013-2014, stress and depression related absence accounted for the largest proportion of total sickness absence for Council staff; just under a quarter of all sickness absence. For the half year of April to September 2014 the figure had increased to nearly a third (31%) of all sickness absence.

Relevant Issues and Options

18. A senior representative of the Council (Champion) signing the Organisational Pledge represents the Council making a public commitment to a realistic and manageable set of goals in the form of an action plan (Appendix A) designed to reduce the stigma and prejudice faced by people with mental health problems.


19. Measures intended to improve mental health are also contained within the action plan. Organisations such as the DVLA in Swansea have reported significant reductions in mental health related sickness absence having signed the Pledge and implemented an action plan that aimed to reduce stigma and encourage a supportive environment.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

20. All actions will be met from existing resources. Any impact on sickness absence rates will be carefully monitored and reported to CMT.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

21. None.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

22. A mental health problem can be classed as a disability under the Equality Act 2010 where the condition could well last for more than 12 months or more.

Crime and Disorder Implications

23. None

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

24. We all have mental health just as we have physical health, yet 9 out of 10 people with mental health problems experience stigma and discrimination, whilst one in four people are affected with mental health problems during their lifetime. People with mental health problems have the highest 'want to work' rate of any disability group but have the lowest in work rate. One third report having been dismissed from their job and 70% have been put off applying for jobs, fearing unfair treatment.

Corporate/Service Objectives

25. The Council's core values include ensuring that all citizens obtain fair and equal access to services and equitable and consistent treatment in their dealings with the Council. This includes employment.

Policy Framework and Budget

26. This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

27. Time to Change Wales have attended both Corporate Equality Working Group and the Equalities Consultative Forum where a commitment to progress the signing of the pledge to Corporate Management Team was made to those Elected Members present.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

28. Corporate Resources

Background Papers


Contact Officer

Tim Greaves

Equality Coordinator

Officers Consulted

Andrea Davies

Corporate Health & Safety Officer

Corporate Management Team

Responsible Officer:

Huw Isaac

Head of Performance & Development