A TEAM of almost 50 mental health first aiders are helping to break the stigma around mental health with Isle of Wight Council staff, as the council reaffirms its commitment to the 'time to change' pledge today (Thursday) — World Mental Health Awareness Day.

On October 10 last year, the council signed the pledge to make mental health and staff wellbeing a top priority.

Since then, the authority said colleagues had made that a reality by providing trusted and skilled support for staff experiencing mental health concerns.

Over the past year, the council has also worked with Remploy, an independent service that offers support to help staff manage their mental health.

The council has also held 'coffee and chat' drop-in sessions, introduced a wellbeing check and developed mental health training programmes.

Chief executive John Metcalfe said: "The approach we're taking to mental health and wellbeing support within the council is having really encouraging results.

"It’s really important to me that our staff know how seriously we take the issue of mental health and that they have confidence in us as an organisation to provide the appropriate support if it’s needed.

"We're working with people to continue to develop our offer to ensure that our staff are supported and protected appropriately in times when they need it. It's our duty as an employer to support our team, and I'm really pleased that the changes we've embedded this year."

Cllor Clare Mosdell, mental health champion, said: "One in four of us will experience a mental health problem at any one time, and nine out of every ten people who have experienced a mental health problem have faced negative treatment from others as a result.

"Our continued commitment as an organisation to the 'time to change' employer pledge is essential in breaking the stigma and encouraging people to reach out for support when and how they need it."