Yesterday, as part of Mental Health Awareness Week, it was announced that Coventry University, alongside partners from The University of Warwick and West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), was awarded £6.8 million by the Government to tackle poor mental health in the workplace.
A sixth of England’s working age (16-64) population suffers from a mental health problem at any one time. As well as improving the health and wellbeing of these employees, this pilot will address the £33 to £42 billion a year loss in productivity that this represents. Most importantly, it will also help to break down barriers and facilitate the return to work for those suffering with mental health conditions.
The programme will take a multi-disciplinary approach, working with health sector professionals and regional businesses and policy makers to first investigate the scope of the issue and then put forward measures for early identification and intervention. It will also provide a free online tool kit for mental health sufferers.
Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Health and Life Sciences, Professor Guy Daly, 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.”
University Alliance CEO Vanessa Wilson praised this initiative, saying “Although the work of campaigns such as Mental Health Awareness week have been fantastic in bringing the issue of Mental Health into the public consciousness, the statistics show that there is still so much to be done to combat this issue and provide support to those with mental health problems.
“We at University Alliance are incredibly proud of the work that our members are doing within this field. Embedded in their local communities and focused on practical training, Alliance Universities are uniquely placed to bring together sector-leading research with its real-world applications. We congratulate our colleagues at Coventry for being given the opportunity to continue this important and life changing work”