Green Light To Talk about Mental Health @ PwC

Setting the scene

As a way of encouraging our people to speak up about mental health in the workplace, our Green Light To Talk campaign was launched during Mental Health Awareness Week in May 2016 and has gone from strength to strength over the past few years. The initiative includes a ‘green ribbon’ campaign, where our people can wear ribbons as a sign to show others they are happy to have a conversation about mental health and wellbeing.

We publish monthly internal stories, where our people tell their personal experiences through iPhone videos filmed themselves. This storytelling is central to our approach to breaking down the stigma around mental illness, normalising the conversation, and signposting the tools and resources available to our people who may be struggling, or who want to help others.

“The Green Light to Talk campaign empowers our people to speak up when they need help. Normalising conversations about mental health is good for our people, and for our business.”

Laura Hinton, Chief People Officer:

How we helped

In 2018, we joined forces with the Samaritans and The Lord Mayor’s Appeal to create two interactive online learning tools to help train our people, and people from other businesses across the country, to recognise the signs of mental health issues and to give practical advice on how to listen and recognise that someone may be struggling. PwC was the first business to trial the tools, which include specific examples of how to approach difficult conversations and make them beneficial. We also want to embed mental health awareness and Mental Health First Aid training across our firm, and are training our own accredited Mental Health First Aid Instructors, so we have the capability to do this on an ongoing basis.

We also became involved with the This Is Me initiative when it launched, and contributed a video showcasing five of our people as they talk openly about their personal mental health experiences. This year we produced a new version of the video, reflecting our strategic focus on the sometimes ‘harder to reach’ groups within our firm. This video explores how mental health challenges play out in different faiths, cultures and communities and was produced by members of our five faith networks.

To mark our annual ‘Green Light To Talk Day’ during Mental Health Awareness Week in May 2018, our Chairman and Senior Partner Kevin Ellis hosted an internal webcast for our people to drive the conversation on how important it is for mental health to be discussed in the workplace at PwC.

We have a number of ‘mental health advocates’ at senior levels across the business. They are partners who either have personal experience of, or an interest in, mental health, who will listen without judgement to anyone in the business who wants to talk. They are trained by the Samaritans to signpost and help those who may be struggling.

This is Me: faith and culture

Our latest 'This is Me' video looks at some of our people’s experiences of mental health issues within different cultures and communities. Members of our faith networks share their stories to encourage more conversations about mental wellbeing, to help tackle taboos and ensure that people get the support they need.

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This is Me 2016

Our 'This is Me' campaign was created to mark World Mental Health Day 2016. We were one of 50 companies taking part in this initiative, run by The Lord Mayor's Appeal team.

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Making a difference

Our commitment to de-stigmatising mental health has encouraged an important conversation at PwC about the importance of our people feeling able to discuss their personal experiences and bring their whole selves to work.This is central to our overall wellbeing approach, and how we try to support our people in looking after themselves, and each other.

Green Light To Talk has been our most successful initiative to date, in terms of engaging people on the subject of mental health. A quote from one of our people in response to one of our monthly internal stories sums this up succinctly: “This is what I love about our company, so supportive and enabling people to feel they are able to be open about their challenges with mental health”.

PwC’s Green Light To Talk ‘green ribbon’ campaign was such a success that the Lord Mayor’s Appeal adopted it and launched the initiative across the country in 2017 and again in 2018. As part of the This Is Me campaign, we lit up our Embankment Place headquarters in green for Mental Health Awareness Week, to show our support. Now driven by the Lord Mayor’s Appeal, the green ribbon campaign started by PwC has seen 200,000 ribbons distributed nationwide, from Aberdeen to Cornwall.

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Corporate Affairs, PwC United Kingdom
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