A MAJOR Darlington employer is helping to challenge stigmas surrounding mental health by pledging a commitment to ushering in change.

The Student Loans Company (SLC), which has more than 1,600 employees at its Lingfield Point site, has signed the Time to Change Employer pledge during Mental Health Awareness Week.

Paula Sussex, chief executive of the Student Loans Company, said: “The reality is that the colleague we sit next to every day could be experiencing mental health problems without us even knowing so I’m proud to champion mental health wellbeing and sign the Time to Change Pledge on behalf of the Student Loans Company.

“At SLC we have been working hard to create an environment where people can be open when it comes to talking about mental health.

"It is so important that we come together as an organisation to tackle this important issue and find practical ways to support employee wellbeing and promote a mentally healthy workplace.”

In 2017, SLC trained more than 40 colleagues in mental health first aid.