Alex Cliffe, Chief Operating Officer at Elite Group, discusses mental health and ‘Time to Talk’ day

3rd February 2021

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‘Time to Talk’ February 4th, 2021


‘Time to Talk’ February 4th, 2021

The current situation we find ourselves in has definitely shone a light on the importance of mental health and wellbeing in the workplace. Whilst the stigma attached to mental health is changing, we still have a long road to travel before that stigma is eradicated.

So, it’s ‘Time to Talk’ and get it out there, the more we all converse, the more we break down the barriers and myths behind mental health. Someone you know may be suffering in silence and your shout out may just make all the difference in someone’s life.

Start the conversation on Thursday, February 4th – even better start one now!


‘A small conversation about mental health has the power to make a big difference.

We know that the more conversations we have, the more myths we can bust and barriers we can break down, helping to end the isolation, shame and worthlessness that too many of us with mental health problems are made to feel.

Time to Talk Day is the day that we get the nation talking about mental health. This year’s event might look a little different, but at times like this open conversations about mental health are more important than ever.

We need your help to start the conversation this Time to Talk Day – together we can end mental health stigma.’


As a company, we recognise the challenges businesses face to disrupt the stigma of mental health and wellbeing. Events like ‘Time to Talk’ are helping overcome some of the challenges but as business leaders, we need to show that we committed to change.

During the lockdown, at Elite Group, we have endeavoured to implement as many activities as possible to engage staff to maintain active communications with each other. Our HR department has regular shout outs and check-in calls to employees to check on their health and wellbeing but there is always more that can be done. Encouraging staff to socialise amongst themselves and talk about mental health in a positive light helps to promote a more inclusive culture within any business.


My Tips

There are many ways to promote and help staff with their wellbeing. It helps to form a group, to discuss ideas and tips, which can then become the ambassadors of wellbeing within a business.

Talk Time

Encourage staff during calls to have a general chat other than work-related topics. Whilst we are all at work to do our jobs, remote working has taken away some of the socialising we would normally do in the office.

Social time during work hours with colleagues is something that can be overlooked when everyone is working remotely. It’s an important part of work-life that helps us balance out the pressures and alleviate some of the stress. The ability to get things off your chest and discuss issues and challenges sometimes gets lost. The advent of collaboration platforms (like Teams) has helped enormously with this.

Make sure you encourage staff to take the time each day to have a social chat with their workmates either via mobile or my preference would be via video chat. It helps to see someone when you are talking to them, especially if it’s a social chat, you’re more inclined to feel less isolated.

Promote & Educate!

Create and promote appropriate mental health policies for your business. Leading from the front and educating staff about mental health helps engagement and communication. It’s all good and well to have health and wellbeing policies but if you don’t promote them and encourage an inclusive culture then the stigma will remain.  Here at Elite, we have Wellbeing and Mental Health Ambassadors to help get this important message out, as well as always being available to members of our staff who need to talk. I would certainly encourage other businesses to appoint Ambassadors and take advantage of the various Mental Health training courses which are available online.

Work Schedules

Working from home can be problematic at the best of times. I think it is important to promote and encourage employees to maintain healthy work schedules from home. Treating homes offices as you would in a normal office environment helps take unnecessary stresses away. Setting up a daily timeline as if you are in the office like start, finish, lunch and break times, away from the home office desk creates a much-improved wellbeing environment.


‘Around 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem this year yet the shame and silence can be as bad as the mental health problem itself. Your attitude to mental health could change someone’s life.’


Remember mental health challenges can affect anyone and the statistics are concerning. Shinning a light on this and talking about wellbeing openly helps us to change stigmas and support those that need it.

It’s ‘Time to Talk’

If you need to talk to someone about mental health or want some education material, there are numerous places you can go for help. Listed below are some of the facilities across the UK that can help.


Telephone: 116 123 (24 hours a day, free to call)

Provides confidential, non-judgemental emotional support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those that could lead to suicide. You can phone, email, write a letter or in most cases talk to someone face to face.

Mind Infoline

Telephone: 0300 123 3393 (9am-6pm Monday to Friday) or text 86463

Mind provides confidential mental health information services.

With support and understanding, Mind enables people to make informed choices. The Infoline gives information on types of mental health problems, where to get help, drug treatments, alternative therapies and advocacy. Mind works in partnership with around 140 local Minds providing local mental health services.

Rethink Mental Illness Advice Line

Telephone: 0300 5000 927 (9.30am – 4pm Monday to Friday)

Provides expert advice and information to people with mental health problems and those who care for them, as well as giving help to health professionals, employers and staff. Rethink also runs Rethink services and groups across England.


Telephone: 0300 304 7000 (4:30pm-10:30pm)

Saneline is a national mental health helpline providing information and support to people with mental health problems and those who support them.

The Mix

Telephone: 0808 808 4994 (11am-11pm, free to call)
Email: Helpline email form
Crisis Support: Text ‘THEMIX’ to 85258.

The Mix provides judgement-free information and support to young people aged 13-25 on a range of issues including mental health problems. Young people can access the Mix’s support via phone, email, webchat, peer to peer and counselling services.


Telephone: 0800 1111

ChildLine is a private and confidential service for children and young people up to the age of nineteen. You can contact a ChildLine counsellor for free about anything – no problem is too big or too small.

Side by Side


Side by Side is an online community where you can listen, share and be heard. Side by Side is run by Mind.


Shout is the UK’s first 24/7 text service, free on all major mobile networks, for anyone in crisis anytime, anywhere. It’s a place to go if you’re struggling to cope and you need immediate help.

Text: 85258