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The latest research from an innovative partnership aimed at boosting the mental health and wellbeing of the county’s workforce has released its latest research, showing that more and more Suffolk firms are keen to play a positive role in supporting their staff.

The Improving Workplace Health Programme, overseen by the Best Health and Work Partnership is run by Suffolk County Council’s Public Health & Communities team, Suffolk Chamber of Commerce and Suffolk Mind.

Launched in June 2022, the programme has been commissioned to deliver a year-long research, communications and information-sharing campaign and showcasing good practice.

As a result of the first two waves of research, focus groups and discussions, the IWH programme is concentrating its efforts on three core mental health imperatives: developing an easy-to-use Suffolk-wide mental health measurement, providing additional support for line managers in companies and looking to build a network of ‘exemplar’ smaller businesses who can share their best practices with others.

The project’s third wave of research has just been released and it confirms that the IWH programme has been effective in creating awareness of the need to improve workplace health.

The main findings were:

  • Nearly 90% of firms are actively working to improve employee health and wellbeing.  
  • More than half provide training to managers and staff to help them manage personal and workplace health and wellbeing. 
  • Many businesses would like more information about the services that are available to help them improve workplace health.   
  • Whilst days lost due to sickness remain low for most businesses, the survey revealed that individuals’ personal relationships, workloads and individuals’ financial worries were the most significant triggers of workplace stress.  

Councillor Andrew Reid, Suffolk County Council Cabinet Member for Public Health and Public Protection, and chair of the Suffolk Health and Wellbeing Board, said: “Work is an important part of our lives, giving us access to social networks, identity, and purpose but it can also be a source of stress, which can impact mental health.  Raising awareness of mental health and wellbeing across the workforce, and how to support staff and colleagues is crucial, and it is encouraging to see that Suffolk businesses are actively striving to improve workplace wellbeing.

“Supporting workplace health is a priority for Suffolk County Council and for the Health and Wellbeing Board and we look forward to continuing our engagement with Suffolk businesses to enhance the good practice that is already taking place.”

Richard Brame, chair of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce’s People and Skills Group, added: “The results of this third survey suggest that more and more businesses are taking an active role in supporting their workforce’s mental health and wellbeing. This is a positive outcome from all our efforts, but it’s clear that more needs to be done and the businesses themselves want to do more!”

Suffolk Chamber of Commerce will now be discussing with its members and others as to what more needs to be done to provide businesses with help and support in managing the issues that have been identified in the survey, including via its online IWH hub.

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Suffolk Chamber

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