A HOUSING provider has signed an employer pledge with a growing social movement dealing with mental health.

Landlord and developer, Aster Group, has joined up with Time to Change, which is run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness.

The charities help people open up about mental health.

By signing, Aster, which owns a number of homes in the Test Valley has made a commitment to change the way its workplace thinks and act about mental health.

Bjorn Howard, group chief executive officer said: “We’ve signed up to Time to Change because we want to help break down some of the barriers and prejudices of mental health.

“At Aster, we believe it’s very important that we talk openly and honestly about mental health, and through Time to Change and many other initiatives we will make sure we are there for our colleagues and customers who may be facing mental health issues.”

Aster’s plans for the year ahead include training a further 24 mental health first aiders to join the 38 it already has, as well as to host and organise a number of internal events from awareness sessions and lunchtime activities for colleagues to get involved with.

Aster joins more than 450 organisations who have signed up to the Time to Change pledge.

Jo Loughran, interim director of Time to Change, said: “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.

“Everyone’s attitude makes a difference and it’s fantastic to see organisations like Aster 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.”