Mental health pledge aims to reduce NHS sickness absence
PUBLISHED: 08:00 10 January 2019 | UPDATED: 16:22 10 January 2019
Leaders at two Suffolk NHS organisations have marked a big step towards supporting mental health in the workplace.
Members of the Ipswich and east Suffolk clinical commissioning group (CCG), alongside those at the West Suffolk CCG, signed the Time to Change employer pledge on Wednesday.
This action signalled their commitment to promoting positive mental health in the workplace.
It comes after mental health problems were cited as one of the main causes of absence at work by Time to Change, a campaign launched in 2007 and championed by national charities Mind and Rethink Mental Health.
The chief officer for both CCGs, Dr Ed Garratt, hopes the pledge will make NHS staff happier.
He said: “Our NHS staff are an incredible asset who work hard for the people across east and west Suffolk to commission the best and most effective health services.
“There’s no doubt working for the NHS can be challenging.
“This is why it is so important that we do all we can to promote good mental and physical wellbeing in the workplace.
He added: “Everyone benefits, and we are determined that over the coming months and years we will see happier staff who are feeling more fulfilled in their jobs.”
The CCGs have developed an action plan outlining how they will meet the new pledge’s requirements.
The plan includes 24 separate actions, which the CCG will look to carry out.
This includes offering mental health awareness training by Suffolk Mind to staff members, including line managers, so they can discuss issues with their staff.
Another action aims to make mental health discussion a bigger part of back-to-work interviews for staff returning from sickness leave.
Jo Loughran is the director of Time to Change campaign – and claimed the pledge will lead to greater staff retention across the NHS.
She said: “Everyone’s attitude makes a difference and it’s fantastic to see organisations like the two CCGs taking the lead.
“Many leading employers have found that making a strategic commitment to the mental wellbeing of their workforce not only benefits their staff but also their bottom-line, improving productivity and staff retention.
“With one in six British workers experiencing mental illness, it’s time for businesses to make a change.”