New mental health campaign for employers: Bridge the Gap, Start a Chat

A new campaign created by employers for employers to boost mental health and productivity by encouraging open conversations in workplaces in Worcestershire, and surrounding counties, has been officially launched.

“Bridge the Gap, Start a Chat” has been launched by the Mental Health and Productivity Pilot (MHPP), a collaboration of Midlands universities, local authorities and mental health charity, Mind.

It’s been developed to give businesses and organisations the help they need to encourage mental health discussions in the workplace.

The campaign has been created with a group of employers, and employees with lived experience of mental health problems. It’s one of the ways MHPP is supporting employers to understand the important link between staff mental health and wellbeing, and business productivity.

Research has shown that mental health is one of the biggest causes of sickness – and the impact of COVID-19 has recently become another key factor in poor mental health at work.

As well as tips and advice on starting conversations, for line managers and employees, employers can access a free ‘resource pack’ on the MHPP website, which gives resources and guidance to help them roll out a campaign to encourage conversations about mental health in their own organisation.

Gary Woodman, Chief Executive of the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “In Worcestershire, we’ve seen employee’s mental health and wellbeing suffer as a result of the pandemic. As the world begins to return to normal, it’s understandable that some people may feel overwhelmed and uncomfortable with the idea of going back to the workplace and meeting others inside.

“This new campaign will show both employers and employees that something as simple as starting a chat enables better health and wellbeing for all. I would encourage all businesses in Worcestershire to sign up to the campaign and access the resources available to support their staff.”

Caroline Geraghty, MHPP Project Manager at Coventry University, said:

“Bridge the Gap, Start a Chat is all about giving employers and employees the support and confidence to start conversations at work about mental health. In the same way that we all have physical health, everyone has mental health too, so it’s important that people feel able to talk about mental health wherever they work.

“We know from talking to Midlands employers, that often people find it hard to talk about mental health at work. Through ‘Bridge the Gap, Start a Chat’ we want to show employers and employees that it doesn’t need to be difficult and starting a conversation is a great place to begin.

“There’s some really good advice on the website, and we’ve made it easy for employers run their own campaign by providing guidance and resources that can be downloaded and shared with staff.

“Ultimately, talking about mental health is the first step that employers can take to supporting staff. MHPP also offers a range of other free support, to help organisations implement a structured approach to improving workplace mental health – and it doesn’t cost anything as our work is funded by Midlands Engine.

“We would encourage all employers to head to the MHPP website and have a look at the employers resource pack – there’s plenty in there to get started on making a big difference.

“If enough employers get on board, it will make an enormous difference to the health and wellbeing of workers across the Midlands.”

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