Coventry University is delighted to be partnering with the University of Warwick and West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) in a major, new, mental health pilot.

The University will be leading a group of health professionals, academics and business leaders who have been awarded £6.8M by the Government to tackle poor mental health in the workplace.

At any one time, a sixth of the population in England aged 16 to 64 has a mental health problem¹, which costs employers² between £33 billion and £42 billion a year in lost productivity.

This report highlights the "Thriving at Work" wellbeing premium for employers that the Stevenson / Farmer review of mental health and employers 2017 established, and revealed that an estimated 300,000 people lose their jobs every year because of mental health problems.

Recognising the huge impact mental health issues have on employees’ wellbeing and employers’ productivity, the Midlands Engine Mental Health and Productivity Pilot has been created to break down the barriers to people suffering mental health problems and facilitate their return to work.

In partnership with the University of Warwick, West Midlands Combined Authority and supported by MIND, the pilot will be delivered by a multi-disciplinary group including:

  • Seven universities in the West and East Midlands
  • Occupational and clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, public health specialists, service delivery leaders, Public Health England, NHS
  • Small, medium and large businesses, policy makers, economists and nine Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP) across the Midlands Engine region.

The collaborative approach and multi-channel engagement of all of the partners is essential for the pilot to complete a number of different work streams over the next three years. 

The pilot will start by scoping data collection from health professionals and recruiting over 1,000 small, medium and large businesses to take part.  

As the programme develops, measures will be employed that allow for the early identification of mental health problems, providing a range of bespoke actions to improve current difficulties developing advisory mechanisms. The pilot will then deliver a model of how a mental health specialist can interface between businesses and mental health providers, as well as an online toolkit for mental health sufferers.

Professor Guy Daly, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Health and Life Sciences, said:  

“Over the next three years, the Midlands Engine Mental Health Productivity Pilot will engage with over 1,600 businesses, train 45,000 staff and offer a free online resource that aims to reach one million people.

“Together we will deliver a step change in the support offered to employers and employees, which will deliver better mental health, leading to higher levels of productivity across all types of organisations in the East and West Midlands.”

Professor Caroline Meyer, from University of Warwick Medical School and WMG, said:

“I am delighted to be leading the University of Warwick arm of this Midlands Engine project that will make a huge difference to employees and employers across the whole region and further. A step change in activity is required to address poor mental health and help people to thrive at work.

“The workplace provides a unique opportunity to identify and support those people who might otherwise receive no intervention, as well as supporting those with existing problems, and the result of this project will be tools that will enable us to do just that.”

West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) wellbeing director Supt Sean Russell said:

“We are delighted to have been given this opportunity to scale up our work and build on some of the existing Thrive initiatives which have been developing in the West Midlands over the last three years.

“We can also learn from the work undertaken by MIND nationally to promote a strong evidence-based delivery programme for the whole Midlands.”

The Midlands Engine is a coalition of Councils, Combined Authorities, Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP), Universities and businesses across the region, actively working with Government to build a collective identity, to enable us to present the Midlands as a competitive and compelling offer that is attractive at home and overseas.

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