Understanding the conditions for successful mental health training for managers
RAIL SAFETY AND STANDARDS BOARD LIMITED
The railway industry has heavily invested in safety and safety management in the past decade, making the GB railway drastically safer. However, there is recognition within the industry that it has not invested as much in the health of its staff – leaving it lagging in this particular area. Poor health is not just a hindrance to employees, it also reduces productivity and engagement, and increases costs for rail companies.
Previous RSSB research has shown that absenteeism costs the industry £320 million per annum, and presenteeism costs £470 million per annum – together, this represents a substantial yearly loss to the industry . In response to this , RSSB and the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) have approved a railway Health and Wellbeing roadmap. The roadmap was developed with the participation of over 100 industry professionals and health experts and a key part of it is to better train railway line managers in health and wellbeing. The Roadmap is overseen by the Health and Wellbeing Policy Group (HWPG). The HWPG regards it as important to understand the impact of health and wellbeing development within rail. Therefore, the independent evaluation of the impact of health training is timely.
The HWPG also regards Mental Health as a good focus area to begin with. Research has shown that stress and mental health are the leading cause of long term absences . Rail companies are now investing more in this area of training. This project therefor focuses specifically on the management of mental health for employees and mental health training for managers; The Centre for Mental Health estimates that a total of 91 million days are lost each year due to mental health issues, costing employers an estimated £26 billion per year (for both absenteeism and presenteeism). The CMH also estimates that effective strategies could reduce this by as much as 30% – one of the strategies listed is awareness training as well as effective rehabilitation – saving employers up to £8 billion per year .
The aims of this project are to find the best way to support the rail industry to begin to train in this area, targeting specifically mental health training for managers. There are gaps in knowledge in:
• The best methods to train line managers
• The best topics to train line managers in
• How to understand and measure the beneficial impacts created
• The way to support the costs of providing training
• The way to maintain ongoing training activity within rail
Without this knowledge, it is unlikely that a high consistent level of health and wellbeing training will be provided.
This research project will be organised into two parts. The first will comprise a brief overview of the literature on mental health training and scoping existing and planned mental health training in the rail sector. The second will be a study to compare a minimum of two mental health training programme formats to ascertain the most effective approach.