Putting mental health at the centre of business

Date posted: January 25, 2021
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A major initiative aiming to boost economic productivity is calling on businesses across the West Midlands to prioritise their employees’ mental health after COVID-19 has put significant strain on workers’ wellbeing.

The Mental Health and Productivity Pilot (MHPP), funded by Midlands Engine, is a pan-regional pilot being delivered across the Midlands and is urging employers in the region to take steps to support and improve the mental health of their workforce – and boost their bottom line at the same time with no financial cost.

A report published as part of the MHPP in November by the University of Warwick’s Enterprise Research Centre (ERC) found the COVID-19 pandemic has made the issue of mental health in the workplace even more important than ever.

MHPP’s research found workers were less likely to talk to managers about experiencing mental health problems since lockdown. New triggers to poor mental health were revealed, including furlough, furlough envy, isolation and additional home stresses. Overall, a lack of support for workplace mental health problems could reduce the overall productivity in the region by a quarter.

Even before the pandemic, one in six workers suffered because of their mental health. 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 – an increase of 16% since 2017.

About MHPP

MHPP is leading the way towards making a step-change in attitudes towards mental health in the workplace and reducing the stigma associated with talking about mental health at work.
The three-year project will signpost employers to established initiatives that can help their employees’ mental health – no matter the size of the business – not only making their staff healthier but also helping to boost their productivity.

Through MHPP, employers can also sign up to be pilot sites for trials of new workplace interventions that focus on early identification of issues and support for both employers and employees, spanning effective return to work following sickness, emotion regulation, sleep therapy and individually tailored support from a liaison worker.

MHPP 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.

For the latest on our region, subscribe to Midlands Matters, the official newsletter of the Midlands Engine.
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