I AM pleased to share that over 1,000 organisations have signed the Time to Change pledge to end mental health stigma since the national campaign was launched.

Mental ill-health is the leading cause of sickness absence in the UK, costing an average of £1,035 per employee per year, with 95 per cent of employees who called in sick with stress providing an alternative reason for their absence.

As Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce is leading on the employer strand on the social movement, we have been working closely with local businesses to encourage developing a culture where all members of staff can talk openly about their mental health problems.

The Employer Pledge allows Time to Change to work with businesses to develop an action plan to get your employees talking about mental health. Once your action plan action has been agreed, you will be sent a pledge board that a senior leader can sign in front of your employees to mark your commitment.

As part of their commitment to the campaign, I am delighted to share that the Worcestershire Ambassadors will be hosting a Time to Change Lunch on Thursday, September 26.

Taking place at Hogarths Stone Manor, Kidderminster, the event will lead discussions on how we can change the way we all think and act about mental health locally to improve attitudes and behaviour.

I’m thrilled to reveal that Mel Nicholls, British wheelchair athlete who competed in the 2012 Summer Paralympics and silver medallist at the Athletics World Championships 2015, will be guest speaker on the day to discuss her inspirational story.

Guests will also enjoy a three-course lunch as well as being able to network with likeminded business people and find out more about signing the pledge.

Tickets for the event are £41. To book your place, visit bit.ly/MelNichollsTTC.