Hundreds of employers joining ‘Journey’ to help make the Midlands the place of choice to live and work

More than 800 Midlands’ employers are working with the Mental Health and Productivity Pilot (MHPP) to increase efficiencies and profitability by putting measures in place to better support mental health and wellbeing in the workplace.

Many find it uncomfortable to talk about mental health, notice when others are struggling, or ask for help themselves but MHPP is working with organisations to support more than 600,000 of the region’s employees.

MHPP led by Coventry University and partners, is asking local employers to join the ‘journey’ to navigate what’s available and measures that can be put in place to establish a happier, healthier workforce – and subsequently enjoy the benefits that brings. MHPP’s work is bespoke to the specific challenges faced by local organisations of all sizes and sectors.

The team behind this game changing initiative consists of academic experts from local universities who monitor and evaluate impact against productivity throughout the journey and beyond. So far, organisations are seeing a significant shift for the better.

Progress is being made in sectors like construction, manufacturing, and distribution, where workers are less likely to talk and reach out, as well as other sectors including education, retail, care and hospitality.

Vanessa Currie, Head of People, Learning and Development at Birmingham’s Millenium Point said:
“As an employer, we recognise the immense importance of ensuring that all team members can define what support they personally need or want for their own mental health and well-being.

Our Thrive team here at Millennium Point have worked hard to ensure that the focus on health and well-being is at the heart of our culture and a part of our everyday life.

It is positive to see that everyone is taking part in our mental health and wellbeing initiatives and benefitting from the variety of health benefits, support and training that we offer.”

Putting wellbeing at the heart of post-covid recovery and the cost-of-living crisis is clear.
• The cost of mental health related sickness absence is at a record high of £53-56 billion per year (2020/21) – an increase of 25% since 2019*
• Our research shows that employers are seeing a return of £5.30 on average for every £1 invested in staff mental health*

Sean Russell, MHPP Project Director from Coventry University said: “People matter, and we are passionate about our work and the insights we are gathering on the vast and complex mental health needs in the Midlands, particularly in the workplace.

We’ve established a clear link to mental health and productivity through robust academic research, working with employers and employees across the region, from small independent organisations to large multi-nationals.

Often unintentionally many shy away from broaching the subject of mental health, initiating conversations, providing, and asking for support. We’re helping organisations break down barriers to improve understanding, shifting attitudes and putting interventions in place to make positive change.

We’re independent and non-commercial, which gives confidence in our work and the MHPP team are often seen as an extension of local workforces. Our offer is free to organisations within the Midlands Engine footprint as we are funded by the Government. Our support helps organisations take the first vital steps to implementing an effective mental health at work strategy.

At a time of great economic vulnerability, we need to look after each other now more than ever – embracing mental health and wellbeing in the workplace doesn’t need to be difficult and can make a world of difference.”

Led by Coventry University in collaboration with Mind, West Midlands Combined Authority and universities of Birmingham, Derby, Lincoln, Loughborough, Nottingham, and Warwick, MHPP’s work helps inform Government policy and is funded through Midlands Engine by the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department for Health and Social Care.

Momentum is strong to put the Midlands on the map and to make it the place of choice to live and work. MHPP is asking for more employers to #GetOnBoard and join the #MHPPJourney. Find out more at

*Deloitte report – March 2022 – Mental Health and Employers: The case for investment – pandemic and beyond