Awards announced for mental health work

West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) will tomorrow mark World Mental Health Day by announcing an awards programme for outstanding efforts to improve mental health in the region.

The THRIVE Mental Health Commission Awards will recognise achievements across a number of categories, to be announced soon.

Chair of the WMCA Wellbeing Board, Cllr Bob Sleigh, said the awards would provide a platform to share ideas and good practice as well as rewarding work by groups and individuals.

He said: “We have seen some wonderful work in line with the priorities set out in our Thrive West Midlands Action Plan and the awards will be a way to reward those efforts - and encourage more.

“The THRIVE Mental Health Commission Awards will shine a light on the work and provide a platform for sharing ideas and innovation.”

Thrive WM implementation director Sean Russell said: “This year’s World Mental Health Day is focusing on ‘Wellbeing In The Workplace’ – a theme which chimes with so much of what we are doing as part of Thrive WM.

“In the Midlands we are committed to helping people achieve their full potential and by supporting those individuals living with poor mental health on this journey we will assist this.”

 “In our region alone, about £1.72 billion is lost each year due to mental health problems affecting working people.

“But the human cost is even greater - the stigma that still surrounds mental health means that many people turn up to work when they feel unwell.

“They worry about being demoted, missing out on promotions, being seen as less capable or judged negatively, or even losing their jobs.

“This is why wellbeing in the workplace is a top priority for us. Good mental health is just as important as good physical health and we need to build our resilience in the same way – through exercising regularly, having a balanced diet and sleeping well.”

Thrive WM is also poised to trial the government’s Individual Placement & Support (IPS) programme, designed to help people suffering poor mental health into employment.

Businesses are also being urged to sign up to a West Midlands Workplace Wellbeing Commitment and Thrive WM is working with the government on plans to introduce a financial incentive for businesses working to improve employees’ mental health – the Wellbeing Premium.

The WMCA Board will hear a report on these and other projects which have been progressed over the first six months of the Thrive WM Action Plan, at its meeting on Friday (13 Oct).

World Mental Health Day provides an opportunity for people who work in mental health to talk about their work and what more needs to be done to make good mental health care a reality for people worldwide.