News - 10 May 2021

Employers encouraged to check on staff during Mental Health Awareness Week

The Mental Health and Productivity Pilot (MHPP), funded by Midlands Engine, has been helping companies in the region take steps to support and improve the mental health of their workforce – and boost their bottom line at the same time.

With many employees slowly returning to the office and a large number of hospitality staff heading back into work on Monday 17 May, MHPP is using Mental Health Awareness Week to call on employers to take steps to ensure their staff are supported when they come back.

Mental Health Awareness Week takes place from today (10 May) until Sunday 16 May.

Making mental health a priority in the workplace

Professor Guy Daly, MHPP Lead said: “With many people returning to work after a long time away, it’s more important than ever for employers to make sure their staff’s mental health is a key priority, and to put policies in place to support staff to get help should they need it.

“Our research has shown the pandemic and home working has created more triggers for poor mental health, such as being furloughed, isolation from colleagues, and additional home stresses such as balancing childcare with work.

“We also found that many workers were less likely to speak to managers about experiencing mental health problems since lockdown as they were worried about what effect it could have on their job security.

“During Mental Health Awareness Week, we want to stress to employers that checking up on your staff’s mental health and encouraging them to open up as they return to work is not only good for their mental health and morale, but also boosts productivity too.

“We have seen that having a workplace culture that reduces stigma and allows workers to talk about their issues with their line managers or dedicated mental health champions reduces absences and presenteeism – where staff turn up for work despite being ill.

“If we can encourage Midlands employers to take proactive steps to improve mental health in their workplaces, it will go a long way to helping the economy recover.”

The Mental Health Productivity Pilot

MHPP works with businesses and organisations of all sizes across the Midlands to provide free guidance and support roll-out of mental health initiatives across small, medium, and large businesses with the aim of:

  • Contributing to the reduction of mental health distress
  • Breaking down the barriers to accessing care faced by people experiencing mental illness
  • Supporting their continuation in and return to work
  • Making a positive contribution to organisational productivity, in terms of wellbeing and economic outcomes

The project is being funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF).

It is being led by Coventry University in partnership with the University of Warwick, the West Midlands Combined Authority, mental health charity Mind and the universities of Birmingham, Derby, Lincoln, Loughborough and Nottingham.

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