What we learned from Firestarters ‘Mental Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace’
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What we learned from Firestarters presents… ‘Mental Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace’ | Growth Platform

Our most recent Firestarters event was delivered in partnership with Growth Platform as part of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s engagement around mental health and wellbeing in the workplace.

Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram – who delivered a keynote speech at the event – is championing a campaign to promote good mental health and wellbeing at work, in support of World Mental Health Day. The campaign launched on Monday 11 October 2021

What is Firestarters?

Firestarters is a community of values-driven organisations that’s striving to be a force for good in the LCR. Through live events driven by action, insight, and social impact, Firestarters aims to build meaningful connections between purpose-driven people and achieve real change.

Why Mental Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace?

Poor mental health costs the UK economy over £74 million every year – and that’s without factoring in the toll the COVID-19 pandemic has placed upon our mental health and wellbeing. It is one of the most pressing issues facing our region, with the workplace a key area where poor mental health can manifest.

What we discussed at ‘Mental Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace’

The event brought together some of the region’s most influential and purpose-driven organisations to discuss: “What does transformative mental health and wellbeing support in the workplace look like post-COVID-19?”

During the event, we heard from three keynote speakers:

  • Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram of the LCR Combined Authority
  • Elaine Derbyshire of Merseycare
  • Mark Basnett of Growth Platform

They each discussed various challenges facing the LCR with regards to workplace mental health, and highlighted how the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these challenges. One of the key points raised in these speeches was the need for attitudes to change with regard to speaking out about our mental health, as well as the need for resources to be made more readily accessible for those who need them.

Both Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram and Mark Basnett emphasised the resources made available through the LCR Combined Authority’s ‘Mental Health in the Workplace’ campaign. These include free online mental health awareness training for employers and employees, mental health first aid courses, organisational frameworks to better support employees, and workplace-specific helplines, as well as other initiatives.

A Q&A with all three keynote speakers followed, where the Firestarters community offered their own valuable experiences and insights, and built upon the points made by our speakers.

It’s not self evident where the problem is coming from. If you’re in a workplace, there are so many factors that contribute towards your poor mental health in the workplace specifically, it could be yourself, it could be your team, it could be the culture, so that’s not clear.

After the Q&A, we broke off into three smaller groups for more in-depth discussion about what can be done to improve mental health and wellbeing in the workplace, with discussions led by members of the Matchstick Creative team.

Each of the three groups discussed two key questions around mental health and wellbeing in the workplace:

  • What resources are needed to help support businesses in the LCR?
  • How are these resources made available most readily?

What we’ve learned from ‘Mental Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace’

Our smaller group discussions allowed the Firestarters community to dive deeper into the issues facing the LCR. Some excellent points were raised by our participants, and we identified running themes across all three group discussions:

  • The main challenges around providing mental health support in the workplace revolve around trust and workplace culture
  • The main opportunities for overcoming barriers and creating change lie in education, empowerment, and flexibility and control of working arrangements
  • The approach to improving workplace mental health and wellbeing has to be preventative and holistic for maximum impact

A lot of organisations have employee assistance programmes. When we work with organisations we do a lot of surveys, and currently 78% of staff say they wouldn’t trust it in case it got back to their employer. I think that is a barrier in itself.

Where can I learn more about ‘Mental Health in the Workplace’?

Head to Growth Platform’s website, and the LCR Combined Authority website. You can find a range of helpful resources for individuals and businesses, from organisations including the Zero Suicide Alliance, Mental Health First Aid England, and Mind.

What’s next for Firestarters?

Our ‘Building Back Equal’ – Employment and Skills event! If you want to join the conversation around how we can build back employment equality, head on over to eventbrite to book your place.

Make sure to follow us @heyfirestarters on Twitter and Instagram for all the latest Firestarters news.