As an industry first, Rail Wellbeing Live will take place on the 4th and 5th of November.
The event is aiming to tackle historic issues around wellbeing found among the 240,000-strong UK rail workforce where suicides are among the highest in the UK workforce at 1.6 times the national average.
Well known faces like mental health activist and entertainer Ruby Wax, BBC Breakfast’s resident doctor Dr Rangan Chattergee and Dr Dawn Harper from the show Embarrassing Bodies are among the health and wellbeing speakers to star at this year’s inaugural Rail Wellbeing Live.
Ill-health in the rail industry is estimated to cost £790m per year with a 3.9% absence rate, more than double the private sector average.
Poor mental health overall costs the UK economy a significant £35bn per year. And this year, the British Medical Association have stated that Covid-19 could have considerable consequences on people’s mental health.
Over the past few years, the industry has made a conscious effort to address these issues with more research into mental health and more investment into occupational health services. For example, last year the RSSB launched the ‘With You In Mind’ employment service, giving employees easy access to 1-2-1s with mental health experts.
Rail Wellbeing Live has been set-up by the by the Rail Wellbeing Alliance, a cross industry group with the involvement of dozens of train operating companies, suppliers and bodies. Thousands of people from across the industry are expected to take part and watch online.
John Halsall, Chair of the Rail Wellbeing Alliance and Managing Director for Network Rail’s Southern Region, said: “We know that some 60% of workers have experienced mental health issues. And this year especially has seen all our health and wellbeing challenged in the most unexpected ways. It is such an important time to be shining a light on some pretty tough issues, like loneliness, relationships and depression.
“Rail Wellbeing Live has the opportunity to revolutionise attitudes to well-being in our industry. It’s about starting a conversation and encouraging everyone to share and talk about issues relating to health, creating an irresistible positive energy across the industry that will make it safer and better for all of us.”