Midlands employers improving productivity through support from Mental Health & Productivity Pilot video transcript

[Geoffrey Etule] When I joined the trust in July 2020, it was very apparent that we had a high number of people going off sick due to mental health conditions. So, one of the key drivers for me was "how could we put some interventions in place to try and support the mental health and well-being of our employees?"

[Natalie Harries] Mentally healthy employees benefit the organisation. They're more productive, reducing sickness levels which means that it ultimately benefits us as a business.

[Jess Barnett] We always wanted to be a responsible employer and a responsible business, but it was really the pandemic that made me think "what can we do to really support our employees and team member's mental health at this really challenging time?" And that's when we started to look for support from external bodies that could really guide us on that journey.

[Phil Calcutt] MHPP helped give us a framework to deal with people's different reactions to the pandemic and the importance of mental well-being in being able to be resilient in coping.

[Titles] Mental health problems affect one in six workers each year and are the leading cause of sickness absence.

[Geoffrey Etule] With having some dedicated project management support from MHPP we've been able to introduce things like mental health first-aiders training and development programs. Currently, we now have over 92 mental health first aiders in the trust. We've also been able to introduce mental health awareness training and we've now trained over 145 of our line managers and going forward we're now looking at more resilience programs and certainly the resources that we've had from MHPP and that engagement has enabled us to support some big campaigns over the last 12 months. So, a lot of the things on the campaigns that we've done, without the support and the expertise from the MHPP project offices we would not have been able to do those. So, it's very important that we have this ongoing engagement and support.

[Titles] 300,00 People with a long-term mental health problem lose their jobs each year.

[Jess Barnett] Like a lot of SMEs we have no dedicated HR department and no dedicated IT department so we're doing a lot of the things ourselves and through the hard work of our team. So, things like health and well-being can often get overlooked but we didn't want to do that and so MHPP helped us to usefully use our time to create a strategy and to look at where we could make improvements and lay out pathways of support for our team members.

We have a policy of inclusive recruitment which means that we source our team members from alternative and non-traditional methods of recruitment. We've had various kickstart employees come through that scheme and we've also had people come through the 'Towards Work' scheme with our charity partner 'Double Impact' and thankfully we've had five of those people secure long-term employment with us and we've also had two of our kickstarters secure long-term employment with us as well. So, things like the MHPP really make a difference in that area of creating an open and inclusive team who are confident discussing key issues like mental health.

[Titles] Stress, anxiety and depression are thought to be responsible for almost half of working days lost in Britain due to health issues.

[Phil Calcutt] Our journey with MHPP started when we agreed two years ago to take part in the 'Thrive at work' pilot. That introduced us to well-being in all its senses and showed us that mental health was as important as the physical health aspects. Our engineers, they need to apply their own initiative and come up with creative solutions to customer problems and they can only do that if they are in a positive mindset, not bogged down with a low mood or anxiety where they're not going to be at their most productive.

We have had some tangible benefits; our absenteeism rate has dropped slightly, and I think the workforce genuinely appreciate that we are trying to look after their mental health as best we can.

[Martyn Brindley] With the support that the company has bought into place recently it's helped me get back to work quicker than what I could have dealt with on my own.

[Titles] The annual cost of mental ill health to employers is up to £45 billion which is an increase of 16% since 2017.

[Natalie Harries] The MHPP give you support on toolkits and things that we can use internally that's only going to be beneficial. If we were to develop that ourselves it would take us a lot longer and obviously the MHPP are drawing on expert research that is beneficial for us. I'm sure that, as things progress, there will be more things that we can get involved with that will help expand our evolution of the journey that we're on with mental health.

[Titles] According to 'Mind', 56% of employers said they would like to do more to improve staff wellbeing but don't feel they have the right training or guidance.

[Geoffrey Etule] Mental health and wellbeing is at the centre of our HR practice within Wye Valley and MHPP plays a key role in that it ensures that mental health remains topical and remains relevant because by having the monthly engagements we can keep a focus on mental health and well-being. Because, without good mental health we cannot have staff impulse to provide the excellent service that we provide to our patients.

[Title] Just 13% of UK HR and business managers think they have an effective wellbeing strategy.

[Phil Calcutt] This has been a real challenge for us as an SME because we simply don't have the capacity and the HR resources to do this. Without MHPP I’m not sure we would have known how to move forward, what we should be doing or what language we should use, so we probably would not have done anything. It's been really really important in helping us to take those first steps.

[Title] Many employers are unaware of their role in supporting employee mental health.

[Natalie Harris] I would say that it is making an impact and it's making some good inroads at the moment. But we will see more of the benefit of our involvement with MHPP as things progress and therefore it is vital that that continues because the long-term benefit that we're going to get is going to come later.

[Matt Dale] Obviously, there are more deep-rooted problems that people may need to speak to a GP about but there is first line support here if drivers and other employees so wish.

[Jess Barnett] It's increasingly hard to be the owner of an SME, there's so many challenges. We're the first port of call for people's issues and the challenges that they're facing, and we need to be confident that we can be an effective port of call and signpost for help.

In terms of recruiting and retaining staff I think that's fundamental so please do invest in schemes like the MHPP and increase their funding because they are so useful. They really do help us to feel supported and empowered as employees and as employers and I fully believe that it's made a real difference to our business.

[Title] Actively engaging with more than 600 Midlands organisations.

[Title] Potential impact on 500,000 - 600,000 employees

[Title] 13% of the Midlands engine workforce

Midlands employers improving productivity through support from Mental Health & Productivity Pilot video

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