Rail jobs, staff issues and training

14.05.18

Line manager training could reduce mental health absences

Poor line management training and support could be causing poorer mental health amongst rail staff, according to the Rail Safety and Stands Board (RSSB), as Mental Health Awareness Week kicks off.

The Centre for Mental Health estimates that a total of 72 million working days are lost each year due to mental health issues, at an estimated cost of £35bn per year.

In the rail industry, stress and mental health are the leading cause of long-term absence, although the RSSB says that the industry has made great strides in ending the stigma and breaking down barriers to people being open about their own mental health.

However, the RSSB says that emerging findings from its research, ‘Understanding the conditions for successful mental health training for managers’, suggest that there are untapped benefits in better line management training, meaning that staff could be better supported in getting the right treatment and returning to work.

It argues that investment in both traditional face-to-face and online training systems could yield benefits to both the overall health and wellbeing of the rail workforce.

Training would contribute to rail companies’ broader mental health strategies for effective rehabilitation, which the RSSB says could reduce lost working time by up to 30%.

Rail companies are now working alongside RSSB to develop practical options for line management training, as part of a broader health and wellbeing programme.

The research is being carried out on behalf of the cross-industry Health and Wellbeing Economics Group and is due to be completed later this year, forming part of a new cross-industry mental health programme.

Michelle O’Sullivan, RSSB’s mental wellbeing specialist said rail companies are increasingly recognising the importance and benefits of addressing mental health issues with awareness-raising initiatives such as Mental Health Awareness Week, which are endorsed authentically by senior leadership teams.

She added: “Our research is paving the way for rail to take full advantage of the opportunities presented by better line management training, to further boost the wellbeing of our people and enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the railway overall.”

Top image: ginosphotos istock

 

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