Stagecoach launches mental health initiative

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Stagecoach has announced a ‘Pledge to help’ initiative to improve the experiences of employees and customers with mental health conditions.

The scheme includes enhanced training and awareness programmes, in addition to extra support for employees.

The pledge is welcomed by Stagecoach UK Bus Managing Director, Robert Montgomery, who said: “Everyone involved in transport has a responsibility to work together to improve the travel experience for people with disabilities, and that includes those with mental health conditions.

“This involves the training we give our staff, the policies and practices we have in place to deal with our passengers’ needs and the relationships we develop with local support groups. We invest millions of pounds every year in making our services more accessible to all passengers with disabilities and we work hard to deliver the best possible services and information for all of our customers.

“We look forward to building on the relationships we have with support groups and charities across the UK and will strive to make the service we offer to passengers with mental health conditions even better.”

The pledge follows the company’s recent attendance at the Mental Health and Transport Summit in London. The event, hosted by the Mental Health Action Group and Anxiety UK, and attended by Transport Minister Andrew Jones MP, heard from passengers with mental health conditions about their experiences whilst using public transport.

Transport Minister Andrew Jones said, “We’ve called on the transport industry to be bold and ambitious in improving support for mental health, and it’s fantastic to see Stagecoach showing how operators can make a huge difference to people’s everyday lives.

“We have made monumental strides in the way we think about and treat mental illness in this country in the last few years, but we must accelerate progress even further. My Department is playing its part by producing an Accessibility Action Plan later this year and will continue making progress on this vital issue.”

Niki Glazier, Mental Health Action Group’s Co-ordinator enthused: “We congratulate Stagecoach on the way they have embraced the Summit’s Call to Action and are delighted that customers across the UK who are experiencing a mental health condition will be able to expect a helpful and supportive response from Stagecoach staff.”

Nicky Lidbetter, Chief Executive of Anxiety UK said: “It is really pleasing to see that Stagecoach is not only going to be supporting its passengers that are living with mental health issues such as anxiety disorders, but also its staff.  These two measures will go a long way towards tackling the stigma that exists around mental health whilst also helping to break down the barriers that many with anxiety and depression face when making journeys by public transport. It is my hope that other companies will swiftly follow suite and adopt Stagecoach’s good practice”.