Hull Trains launches mental health campaign to support staff and customers

Mark Shepherd, Hull Trains Head of Safety and Environment.

Two workers in the rail and construction industries take their own life every day, according to national statistics – which is why Hull Trains has launched a new mental health campaign.

‘On board with mental health’ aims to help staff and customers get the support they need and reassures them it is OK to not be OK.

The campaign – launched during mental health awareness week – encourages staff to speak up and reminds them Hull Trains has a culture where staff will be taken seriously, listened to and helped. For customers, it reminds them of the various channels available for them to be able to speak with someone. Hull Trains has continued to support campaigns promoted by these organisations regularly.

The campaign aims to tackle stigma around mental health as well as focusing on prevention to improve the overall mental health state of the people directly and indirectly working for Hull Trains.

Why has the campaign been launched?

Stress, anxiety and depression account for a fifth of all work-related illness. In the past week alone, one in six adults will experience a common mental health problem.

In 2017-18 mental health problems accounted for 15.4 million sick leave days in the UK and around 300,000 people a year leave their career because of mental health problems.

These figures are truly alarming – and should be a call to organisations of all kinds to put in place welfare measures for their people. At Hull Trains, the team is tackling this important issue head on.

Hull Trains has always had a mental health strategy in place, but during mental health week which runs from May 13 to 17, the new campaign reminds staff there is a culture where staff can talk openly about mental health at work.

Mark Shepherd, Head of Safety and Environment said: “Mental health problems can affect anyone in any industry and yet all too often it is still a taboo subject.

“People still feel uncomfortable talking to an employer about their mental health.

“There is clearly still work to do when it comes to breaking down stigma and providing the type of open and supportive culture that enables staff to be honest with their manager, to access support and to enjoy a healthy working life.

“In order to create a healthy workplace, we are putting in place a comprehensive strategy to help our people stay well at work, to tackle the root causes of work-related mental health problems and to support people who are experiencing mental health problems.

“In seeking to move from rhetoric to reality employers must mainstream good mental health and make it a core business priority.”

Hull Trains are displaying mental health awareness posters to support staff and customers.

How will the campaign work?

The campaign aims to create a culture where staff feel able to talk openly about mental health at work.

Staff have today been reminded help is available at Hull Trains and asked to take advantage of it, if they feel it could help them.

They can speak with their line manager, a colleague, member of the HR team or access support available through the Hull Trains employee assistance programme.

Staff are offered regular catch-ups with their managers and flexible working hours, where appropriate, to promote work/life balance.

New posters have been placed around the company’s offices and are now displayed on board its five trains in an attempt to raise awareness and provide support to anyone who might be feeling vulnerable for whatever reason.

Debbie Birch, Head of HR and People Support said the campaign is about tackling stigma, and focussing on prevention as well as making staff and customers aware of the support which is available.

She said: “There is still a stigma attached to mental health issues and those who do have a problem are often reluctant to admit it – even to themselves.

“Here at Hull Trains we have an ambitious vision to transform peoples understanding of mental health issues and the services available to improve mental health and well-being outcomes for all of our people.

“Our leadership team has put a greater emphasis on improving access to internal support services, tackling stigma and discrimination, as well as focusing on prevention to improve the overall mental health state of the people directly and indirectly working for Hull Trains.

“Our health and well-being strategy is a cross-business response which seeks to address the causes of poor mental health, promote positive mental health and resilience, tackle stigma and discrimination – offering early help and engaging fully with those affected by mental ill-health issues.”

It comes after Hull Trains launched a campaign appealing to the public to help us eliminate abuse towards Hull Trains Staff.

The campaign was launched after it was reported that staff had faced both physical and verbal abuse in the streets and on services.

[Dan Clark – Mercury]