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RSSB launch new 'With You in Mind' mental health initiative

Joana Faustino, a work psychologist from the UK's independent body for rail safety and standards, the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB), explains the importance of the new employment service ‘With You in Mind.’

It is estimated that 122,171 working days are lost to mental ill-health in the rail industry annually, with mental health problems being the leading cause of long-term absence in the rail industry.

The Health & Wellbeing team at RSSB sees good work as an intervention in itself. Current evidence suggests work is generally good for our health, with the prevalence of mental health difficulties being higher in people who are not at work.

In the NHS Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey (2016), 28.8% of unemployed people looking for work and 33.1% of economically inactive people were found to suffer from a common mental health disorder, comparing to 14.1% of those in full-time employment and 16.3% of those in part-time employment. This is an enormous difference.

Joana Faustino RSSB cropped

Joana Faustino, a work psychologist from the UK's Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB)

Mental health difficulties can have a big impact on someone’s ability to work. According to Deloitte, the estimated financial cost of mental health related absence, presenteeism and staff turnover in the UK is between £33bn and £42bn. Deloitte also found the return on investment of workplace mental health interventions to be around £4 for every £1 spent.

The rail industry focuses heavily on safety, but the truth is safety and health walk hand-in-hand. To keep improving the level of service we provide to the people who use Great Britain’s railways we need to learn how to better support our workers, making them feel valued and cared for.

RSSB is piloting a psychologically informed employment service which offers a range of support to both employers and employees. ‘With You in Mind’ is designed to help guide employers in their commitment to supporting employees whose employment is at risk or made more challenging due to difficulties with their mental health, whilst also providing employees with direct support.

READ MORE: Breaking down mental health barriers

READ MORE: Line manager training could reduce mental health absences

‘With You in Mind’ is one of 19 initiatives across the UK selected to receive funding from the Work and Health Challenge Fund. The Work and Health Challenge Fund aims to test potential solutions which help people with disabilities and health conditions to remain in work.

Our aim is to test how RSSB can help rail industry workers with mental health difficulties thrive at work. ‘With You in Mind’ is a service, but it is also a research piece. By collecting data, we can start developing a better understanding of mental health needs in the rail industry and how to best respond to them.

Understanding what works and what does not will improve our ability to guide our members on developing appropriate strategies to support their staff. We are delighted to have Colas Rail and East Midlands Trains as our first pilot companies.

We wanted to make ‘With You in Mind’ a service user-led initiative: to include staff from the beginning, co-producing the service to make sure it was relevant and meaningful to them. To do that, RSSB’s Health & Wellbeing team has partnered with experts by experience - rail industry workers with personal experience of mental health difficulties - to guide us on front-line industry needs. From the initial project specification up to the review of our outcome measures, they have been pivotal in helping shape the service to make sure our offer is service user focused and will have a real impact.


‘With You in Mind’ is not a therapeutic service. It is an employment service guided by the mental health needs of service users. What this means is that employees will have access to consultation sessions with myself to look at the problems they are experiencing at work in relation to their mental health.

Employers will also have access to case consultations and training to increase their confidence when managing staff with mental health difficulties. A great outcome that came from our consultation with experts by experience was the need to provide training to peer supporters, such as mental health advocates, wellbeing champions, and health and safety reps, as they are sometimes the first point of contact for workers struggling with their mental health.

We have now added training for peer supporters to our core offering and are confident it will greatly improve the level of service we are providing.


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