Pathfinder Schools are delighted to be participating in the Mental Health and Productivity Pilot (MHPP) funded by Midlands Engine. The pilot has been designed to support workplace mental health across the midlands region and will provide the Trust with the opportunity to work with a number of key partners including Mind, The University of Warwick and The University of Birmingham.
Nationally mental health problems affect one in six employees each year and are the leading cause of sickness absence. We are also very aware of the impact of the COVID pandemic and the additional pressures and increased workload experienced by education staff. Research from Deloitte in 2020 found that 41.8% of the UK population are deemed to be at high risk of mental health problems as a direct result of the COVID-19 outbreak. A recent report by the national charity Education Support (2020) found that 50% of education professionals report a decline in mental health.
As a Trust we are committed to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of our staff and see participation in this pilot as an invaluable opportunity to provide pro-active and expert support whilst also raising mental health awareness. Our first pilot is the INWORK research trial testing new approaches to providing mental health and wellbeing support to staff. The trials will focus on early identification of issues and prevention, and potential support on offer includes: online materials explaining the psychology of emotion regulation and offering practical advice for self-care; sleep therapy; and individually tailored support for employees and their managers from a Mind independent liaison worker.
As well as supporting those taking part, the trial results will be used to measure the success and challenges of the new approaches, and our involvement alongside other Midlands employers will help to shape the future of mental health support in our workplaces. In the coming months Pathfinder Schools will be also participating in the PROWORK pilot led by the Universities of Loughborough and Nottingham which aims to help staff on long term sick leave return to work in a healthy and sustainable way.