Research from the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) suggests that efficient and effective training and management of staff in the sector can vastly improve mental health.
Supporting staff with better line management training would help employees to receive the appropriate treatment for any mental health illness, as well as the provision of treatment and smooth return to work.
It is Mental Health Awareness Week, which shines a light on the condition that affects one in four people at some point in their lives, according to data from the charity Mind.
Statistics from the Centre for Mental Health estimate that absence due to mental health can cost employers approximately £35 billion each year, and 72 million working days are lost in this time, affecting people and companies in a variety of sectors.
The rail industry has worked hard – as have many others – to end stigma surrounding mental health, meaning those in authority can recognise symptoms and provide access to support and treatment for depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other related illnesses.
And RSSB’s research shows that this can be improved further if line managers receive better training; it concluded that there are “untapped benefits” from making adjustments in this field.
If investment is made in face-to-face and online training styles, the RSSB believe there will be health benefits for the rail workforce, meaning the industry’s economy will also improve.
Effective training would ensure better mental health strategies and rehabilitation for those affected, vastly reducing the number of working days lost.
Michelle O’Sullivan is the Mental Wellbeing Specialist. She said: Rail companies are increasingly recognising the importance and benefits of addressing mental health issues.
“Our research is paving the way for rail to take full advantage of the opportunities presented by better line management training, to further boost the wellbeing of our people and enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the railway overall.”