Liverpool City Region to host summit to improve mental health awareness

The first Liverpool City Region Mental Health Summit will take place on Friday, 2 March in Runcorn as part of a wider programme to raise awareness and understanding of mental health issues across the city region.

The summit will have a particular focus on supporting employers to tackle mental health stigma; reduce sickness absence rates, increase attendance levels, and boost staff wellbeing and productivity.

The event is being jointly hosted by Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram and Luciana Berger MP and will see both the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and Merseytravel sign up to the Time to Change employer pledge in a bid to encourage other workplaces across the region to improve practices relating to the mental health and wellbeing of their employees.

Speaking ahead of the event, Metro Mayor for the Liverpool City Region, Steve Rotheram, said:

“I made a clear commitment in my manifesto to use the position of Metro Mayor to advocate for those impacted by mental ill health and champion the services required to improve their lives. I believe an important first-step is to sign the Time to Change pledge on behalf of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. 

“But I want to go much further than this and that is why I have called together a summit of experts working in frontline services to learn from their experiences, shape best practise and work together on a long-term region-wide strategy to improve mental health and wellbeing.”  

Luciana Berger, Member of Parliament for Liverpool Wavertree and Mayoral Advisor on Mental Health, said:

“Good mental health and wellbeing in the workplace makes for a motivated, committed and productive workforce. Employers across the city region are increasingly acknowledging the importance of raising awareness in the workplace.

“I congratulate those that have already signed the Time to Change Pledge and encourage others to join the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and Merseytravel in doing so.”

Cllr Liam Robinson chair of The Combined Authority Transport Committee, which oversees the work of Merseytravel, said:

“We know that good transport links can reduce social isolation, improve access to education, get people into employment and socialise with friends and family, all important factors which impact on an individual’s mental health, so I’m pleased Merseytravel can be here to today to sign the pledge.

“As a responsible employer we’re really keen to promote the importance of good mental health not only to our employees and workers in the transport industry, but to the many passengers who travel on our network. Our aim is for all modes of transport in the city region to be accessible and inclusive to everyone, regardless of disability whether that’s visible or not, and campaigns like Time to Talk are really important in raising that awareness and reducing stigma.”

Sue Baker OBE, Director of Time to Change, said:

“We know it can be hard to talk about mental health, which is why we’re supporting employers to open up; to talk and to listen. Too many people with mental health problems are made to feel isolated, ashamed and worthless, but with the right support, those of us with mental health problems can recover and have equal opportunities in all areas of life. It’s fantastic to see organisations like Liverpool City Region Combined Authority taking the lead.

“Many leading employers have found that making a strategic commitment to the mental wellbeing of their workforce not only benefits their staff but also their bottom-line, improving productivity and staff retention. With one in six British workers experiencing mental illness it's time for businesses to make a change and start creating more mentally healthy workplaces."