Supporting your staff and the public with their mental health

Supporting your staff and the public with their mental health

13 May 2019

We know that around one in four people will experience a mental health problem in any one year – and yet the shame and silence can be as bad as the mental health problem itself. How staff in retail places approach mental health can change someone’s life, whether they’re a work colleague or a member of the public.


Here we outline a number of ways in which centre managers and staff can help.


  1. Learn some key facts about mental health problems which may help staff to feel more confident about talking and listening and not jumping to the wrong conclusion about a person’s behaviour. More information can be found on the Time to Change website.

  2. Be open about mental health with both staff and the public. This doesn’t have to be awkward – asking someone how they are can make a huge difference to their lives. When someone is asked how they are, they often say they’re fine when they may not be, so it can be helpful to ask twice. You don’t have to be an expert to help support someone who opens up about their mental health, just follow these five simple steps:
    a) Take it seriously
    b) Listen and reflect
    c) Ask questions
    d) Don’t try and fix it
    e) Build your knowledge.

    More information on the five steps can be found here

    This video by Time to Change helps to explain why our attitudes matter. 

  3. Time to Change is a campaign that helps to open up the conversation around mental health across communities, education and the workplace. As part of the campaign, Time to Change champions who have personal experience of mental health bring people together to help encourage conversations about mental health. You could arrange activities with champions or a local Time to Change Hub in your own retail place to help raise awareness of mental health. You would also be providing a place where members of the public and staff are able to speak to someone with lived experience of mental health. You could ask a local mental health organisation such as Mind, Rethink Mental Illness or the Samaritans to set up a stand or organise an event or activity in the centre as part of your community activities.

  4. You could sign the Time to Change Employer Pledge. The Pledge is a public commitment to end stigma and discrimination around mental health and when you sign, you demonstrate your commitment to change how your workplace thinks and acts around mental health to ensure that any employees who are facing these problems feel supported. Over 1,000 employers including key retailers such as WH Smith have already signed.
  5. There are many mental health resources on hand to support both your workplace and the public in retail centres, including:

    a. Mind
    b. Mental Health that Works
    c. Samaritans