Midlands Engine Mental Health and Productivity Pilot

What is the Mental Health and Productivity Pilot?

The Mental Health and Productivity Pilot will implement new workplace interventions at pilot organisations, and rollout existing interventions in businesses across the Midlands Engine geography. The programme is intended to help reduce mental health distress and break down the barriers to accessing care. Our aim is to reduce absence and incidences of reduced productivity due to poor mental health and provide effective, sensitive support for these staff within the workplace. The pilot also aims to reduce the stigma and discrimination associated with mental health, opening up conversations around the subject within the work environment.

We are now working with businesses in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire (D2N2), Herefordshire, Shropshire (The Marches) and Staffordshire to help integrate effective mental health provision within the working environment. We welcome enquiries from businesses of any size and will work with you to create a ‘road map’ of support for your employees - nurturing a positive culture that develops strength in the workplace.

This project is funded by the Midlands Engine.

T.T.K Confectionery logo

We're delighted to take part in the pilot as part of our ongoing commitment to our team’s wellbeing. At TTK we want to promote good mental health and create a supportive environment, and we feel this initiative will provide the right tools to do that.

Jess Barnett
Brand Director, T.T.K Confectionery

Six mental health at work standards for all employers

The following standards are underpinned by the Thrive at Work key standards, existing pledges and research from UK employers and mental health experts. These standards are key to launching your organisation in the right direction for improving health and wellbeing at work, and growing a healthier, happier workplace.

Priorities mental health in the workplace by developing and delivering a systematic programme of activity

This standard contains four main actions:

  • Produce, implement and communicate a mental health at work plan, drawing from best practice and representing the views of employees across the organisation, specifically exploring feedback from people with mental health problems
  • Demonstrate senior ownership and drive board-level accountability, underpinned by a clear governance structure for reporting
  • Routinely monitor employee mental health and wellbeing using available data
  • Seek feedback from your employees and create clear opportunities to make improvements based on feedback.

Proactively ensure work design and organisation culture drive positive mental health outcomes

This standard contains five main actions:

  • Provide employees with good physical workplace conditions
  • Create opportunities for employees to feed back when work design, culture and conditions are driving poor mental health
  • Address the impact that a range of activities have on employees, including organisational design and redesign, job design, recruitment, working patterns, email, ‘always-on’ culture, and work-related policies
  • Give permission to have work-life balance and to work flexibly and agile
  • Encourage openness during recruitment and throughout employment so appropriate support can be provided.

Promote an open culture around mental health

This standard has three parts:

  • Proactively change the way people think and act about mental health by increasing awareness and challenging mental health stigma
  • Empower employees to champion mental health and positively role model in the workplace
  • Encourage open two-way conversations about mental health and highlight the support available at all stages of employment

Increase organisational confidence and capability 

This standard has four parts:

  • Increase mental health literacy of all staff and provide opportunities for staff to learn about how to manage their own mental health
  • Ensure all staff are suitably prepared and educated to have effective conversations about mental health, and where to signpost for support, including in inductions for all new staff
  • Train your line managers in spotting and supporting all aspects of mental health in the workplace, and include regular refresher training
  • Support managers to think about employee mental health in all aspects of their role including during staff inductions, one-to-one meetings, team meetings and return-to-work meetings.

Provide mental health tools and support

This standard has three parts:

  • Raise awareness of the resources and tools available, including Mental Health at Work
  • Ensure provision of tailored in-house mental health support and signposting to clinical help, including but not limited to digital support, occupational health, employee assistance programmes, the NHS
  • Provide targeted support around key contributors of poor mental health, e.g. financial wellbeing.

Increase transparency and accountability through internal and external reporting 

This standard has two parts:

  • Identify and track key measures for internal and external reporting, including through the annual report and accounts
  • Measure organisational activity and impact using robust external frameworks, e.g. the Business in the Community Responsible Business Tracker and Mind’s Workplace Wellbeing Index.

Ways in which you can support mental health in your workplace include:

Frequently asked questions

Requirement of businesses that sign up to the pilot are as follows:

  • Commit to a meeting (virtual or face-to-face) to explain the initiative further and create a roadmap for your business
  • Attend a follow up meeting to support integration of the initiatives into your organisation
  • Agree to adopt appropriate interventions; Every Mind Matters, This is Me, Mental Health First Aid, Time to Change Pledge (as suggested in your roadmap)
  • Promote positive mental health within your workplace by actively demonstrating your commitment to the pilot
  • Explore additional initiatives the University of Derby has to offer in order to enhance mental health and wellbeing
  • Participate in an evaluation exercise at the end of the three year pilot

By signing up to participate in this pilot the cost to you would be around time. Time invested in the meetings with us to explain about the initiative and support you and your organisation integrating these into your business.

If any of the additional courses that the University of Derby offer are of interest then this may result in you allowing staff the time to complete these short courses. For the Mental Health First Aid course this is face-to-face training of up to 2 days - depending on the level of training your business require - and does incur a cost.

Using the information from the surveys completed in Phase 1 of the pilot, we will make recommendations with you on which initiatives would suit your organisation. This depends on the size and number of employees.

A ‘road map’ will be produced with you to guide you through which interventions may be useful and how to integrate them into your business.

The Mental Health and Productivity Pilot invests in health and wellbeing as a means to deliver inclusive growth. Mental Health is everyone’s concern and businesses and communities should be working together to provide appropriate support.

The pilot will also support employers to create a healthier workplace and raise awareness of mental health issues, tackling discrimination in the workplace, as set out in each regions’ Mental Health Strategy.

Local Resource Packs

The Marches Stoke and Staffordshire D2N2

Telford and Wrekin 

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