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Spotlight on Local Mental Wellbeing Practice: From Industry-Wide Implementation to Local Innovation

RSSB has launched a new Mental Wellbeing Programme for the rail industry. CEO Mark Phillips introduces a new series of regular features sharing the innovative ways members are implementing this Programme to meet local needs and the impacts that are being seen.

Rail is a diverse industry, and its people even more so. What makes good practice in one area can look different in another, particularly when we are dealing with human beings. When speaking to members about mental wellbeing initiatives, it is common to hear ‘that won’t work here’. It is important to go beyond trying to create a one size fits all programme. A programme needs to be adaptable to the nuances of individual companies.

Our Mental Health Programme seeks to embrace the difference and diversity in our industry. The good practice happening on the ground shares a common core. It is our ambition to draw out this core and help all our members reflect on what good practice could look like for them. We want to support members in thinking ‘that won’t work here, but we can adapt it to look like this’. Like a Build-a-Bear, RSSB aims to show you what tools are available, but what Bear you go home with is unique to you.

The first article in our series of ‘Spotlight on Local Mental Wellbeing Practice’ series out later this week will show how West Midlands Trains is reducing stigma, as well as improving understanding of mental health and encouraging help-seeking through its ‘Hear to Listen’ Campaign. This shares the same objectives of raising awareness and reducing stigma as the ‘This Is Me’ Campaign that RSSB has been implementing, but it is bespoke to WMT. Each element of the campaign has been developed by WMT for WMT. The impact of mental health campaigns such as this goes beyond wearing a badge or putting up a poster. It can contribute to a whole culture change that has commercial value through reductions in absenteeism, presenteeism, as well as improved rail safety.

Later in the series, we will be exploring Joie De Vivre, Eurostar’s Health and Wellbeing Strategy. How can a Health and Wellbeing Strategy step up to a challenge across different countries and speak to employees across the UK, France, and Belgium? We will consider how rail companies have been addressing psychological occupational hazards unique to rail, such as post-traumatic stress disorders. In an industry where there is one fatality every 31 hours, East Midlands Trains will share how it is treating PTSD as an occupational hazard and taking a proactive approach to reduce the psychological impact of fatalities on staff.

Collaboration is the heart of RSSB. Each article will aim to provide key reflections and learning that we hope will inform thinking and practice of our members. In this spirit, we'd really like you to join the conversation and share your experiences, so look out for posts on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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