Employers from across the region came together in Birmingham today to learn about Thrive at Work and make a commitment to promoting wellbeing in the workplace.
An audience of around 100 heard speakers, including the government joint work and health unit lead, explain exactly why taking care of our mental health is just as important as physical wellbeing – and why good mental health is vital to business.
The Thrive at Work launch, at St Andrews, Birmingham City FC, saw both public and private sector employers, mental health professionals from the health service and voluntary sector meeting to learn more about the West Midlands Combined Authority-led (WMCA) scheme.
Supt Sean Russell at the Thrive at Work launch
Jennifer Heigham, head of delivery Government Work and Health Unit, said: “Thrive at Work is paving the way to healthier, happier workforces and higher productivity.
“This region is really leading the way and I can hear the excitement around this agenda here today in the West Midlands.”
Sally Evans, UK Wellbeing Lead Pricewaterhouse Coopers, added: “As a large global organisation we have a responsibility to try to do positive things in the community - and wellbeing and mental health particularly is top of that agenda.”
Thrive West Midlands implementation director and WMCA wellbeing director Supt Sean Russell said the programme was already touching more than 62,000 people across the region.
He said: “If we don’t look after the well-being and mental health of our people, we can’t make ourselves great.”
Thrive At Work supports organisations in improving the health and wellbeing of employees, with a free toolkit to work towards accreditation and awards.
Norman Lamb MP, who chaired the WMCA Mental Health Commission, sent a message praising ‘the skills and tenacity of Sean Russell for really making things happen in the West Midlands’, in line with the Thrive West Midlands action plan – a key focus of which was to look at the impact of mental ill health on the region’s economy.
Mr Lamb said: “A recent report commissioned by the Prime Minister highlighted the link between poor mental health and productivity and how, at a time when there is a national focus on productivity, it is massively in the interests of both employers and government to prioritise and invest far more in improving mental health.
“The Thrive at Work Commitment could be immensely powerful and my ambition is for this to become a social movement across the West Midlands.
“We have the opportunity to lead the way - and it is a WIN, WIN, WIN - for employers who will see improvements in their bottom line, for employees who will be better supported and will enjoy improved wellbeing, and for Government which will pay out less in benefits and see a reduced burden on the NHS.”
Businesses can work towards three levels of the Thrive at Work Commitment – Bronze, Silver and Gold. Businesses who show exemplary practice will be eligible for a Wellbeing Award.
Organisations need to register to take part in the programme, upload evidence towards criteria and allow an accreditation manager access to the business and to interview employees.
Businesses will be asked to feedback on how the commitment is working, its costs and effects.
More information is available at: https://www.wmca.org.uk/what-we-do/thrive/thrive-at-work/