A campaign to end the stigma of mental ill health in the workplace is coming to Cumbria.

More than 120 business leaders are expected at the launch of This is Me next week.

One in four British workers are affected by conditions such as anxiety, depression and stress every year.

This is Me aims to break the culture of silence around mental ill health by supporting people to tell their stories. Individuals wear a green ribbon to show support.

The campaign was started by the Lord Mayor’s Appeal in the City of London, in association with Barclays, and is being rolled out across the country.

Barclays is backing the Cumbrian launch alongside BAE Systems, Sellafield Ltd, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Cumbria police and Cumbria Chamber of Commerce.

Rob Johnston, chief executive of the chamber, is hosting the event. He said: “Mental ill health is the leading cause of sickness absence, costing employers an average of £1,035 per employee per year.

“It’s in businesses’ interests to tackle this issue and we hope that, through This is Me, we can reinforce this message and confront the stigma around mental ill health.”

Alan Rankin, people transformation lead at Sellafield Ltd, added: “Mental health at work is one of the biggest challenges faced by employers.

"This is Me creates a powerful way of allowing employees to share personal stories and experiences that enables colleagues to talk more openly about mental health.”

The launch at the North Lakes Hotel in Penrith takes place on Thursday February 7 to coincide with Time to Talk Day 2019, a national initiative to raise awareness of mental health.

Businesses attending will get practical guidance on how to support employees with mental ill health and hear from businesses that have managed mental health challenges.

There will be a panel discussion with Dr Adrian Simper from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Ian Chappell of Cumbria police and Tracey McGlown of BAE Systems, and a presentation from Mind on the state of mental health in Cumbria.

Karen Johnson, who leads the initiative on behalf of Barclays, said: “In 12 months we have reached 300,000 employees in the North West and would like to double this by the end of 2019.”