Develop your company’s mental health policy
RSSB and the Mental Wellbeing Subgroup have developed guidance to support you in developing and implementing a mental health policy that appropriately supports your employees. This document will be relevant to train operating companies, freight operating companies, suppliers and those who work on the rail infrastructure.
With stress and mental health being the leading causes of long-term absences in the rail industry (ORR, 2018), it is vital for companies to dedicate time to define a strategy that supports the mental wellbeing of staff. Having a mental health policy is an important step in turning your company's vision for mental health into practical procedures that employees can refer to. A mental health policy will not only outline the support measures for employees struggling with mental health issues, but also how the company will aim to prevent work-related mental health difficulties. The World Health Organisation (2005) has identified five types of strategy that can maximise the impact of your policy:
- Increasing awareness around mental health.
- Supporting vulnerable employees.
- Facilitating access to professional support for employees with a mental health problem.
- Addressing organisational factors.
- Improving return to work processes.
Before you start to develop a policy it is important to collect some information regarding the issues that occur in your workplace. You may want to look at sickness absence data, staff turnover, internal surveys, and feedback from exit interviews as a starting point. Please refer to RSSB’s Supporting mental health and wellbeing in the rail industry for more on how to systemically manage mental wellbeing.
The Guidance for Developing Mental Health Policies in Rail will support you to develop your thinking around the key areas to include in your policy. It suggests a number of questions you should ensure are answered in your policy.