A Midlands pilot scheme has been heralded as a positive regional approach to tackling the stigma around mental health in the workplace by the head of a major national charity ahead of a key online event.
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of mental health charity Mind, has praised the work of the Mental Health and Productivity Pilot (MHPP) following the launch of its “Bridge the Gap, Start a Chat” campaign aimed at improving the support available for mental health at work.
This comes ahead of a major online regional showcase event about the campaign and MHPP’s further work featuring a range of high-profile speakers, which employers from across the Midlands are invited to attend.
The campaign, created by MHPP with input from a group of ten Midlands employers as well as employees with lived experience of mental health problems, aims to give businesses and organisations across the region the help they need to encourage staff and bosses alike to open up about their mental health. It is one of a number of initiatives and pilot trials from MHPP.
MHPP, funded by Midlands Engine, is a collaboration of Midlands universities, local authorities and experts from Mind and was launched to support employers to understand the important link between staff mental health and wellbeing, and business productivity.
Mental health problems affect one in six workers each year and are the leading cause of sickness absence.
A report by Deloitte in early 2020 found that poor mental health results in lost productivity that costs UK businesses an estimated £45 billion per year, and further studies from the University of Warwick’s Enterprise Research Centre (ERC) show that Covid-19 has made the issue of workplace mental health more important than ever.
Paul is now urging employers from across the region to attend the free online regional showcase event on September 28 at 11.30am to hear more about the campaign and how to turn talk into action around improving workplace mental health.
Speakers will include Sir John Peace, Chair of Midlands Engine, Professor Paul Litchfield, former Chief Medical Officer of BT Group as well as a number of key MHPP leaders and researchers.
Paul himself will also be leading a panel discussion with a group of Midlands employers who are already actively supporting mental health at work and seeing the benefits.
He said: “The Mental Health and Productivity Pilot is helping increase awareness of mental health at work in the Midlands among both employers and staff, helping employers understand how to better support their staff and equipping employees with the tools they need to better look after themselves.
“Mind is using our workplace wellbeing expertise to support MHPP in achieving this.
“Bridge The Gap, Start A Chat is all about giving Midlands employers the tools and extra encouragement they need to make a long-term change, starting with talking honestly about any issues they might be facing.
“Having open conversations creates happy and healthy workplaces where staff can thrive – bringing benefits not only to their mental health, but to their employers too.
“I’m pleased to be leading a timely and important panel discussion with Midlands employers at this event, aiming to find out why mental health is important to them, some of the specific challenges faced in their sector and how the Mental Health and Productivity Pilot support has made an impact.
“I’m looking forward to meeting with a number of inspiring businesses who are helping make sure the Midlands are at the forefront when it comes to promoting and prioritising the health and wellbeing of their staff.”
MHPP is also holding three shorter webinars in September – each relating to different types of workplaces – all about the ease of starting a mental health campaign at work.
Employers wishing to register for the regional showcase event or any of the MHPP webinars is asked to visit https://mhpp.me/startachat/register-for-our-events/