Wellbeing Challenge

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We are St John Ambulance, a volunteer-led health and first aid charity - responding to emergencies, supporting communities and saving lives

Mental health has become a growing concern for workers and companies since the start of the pandemic in 2020. Although there were attempts to develop solutions, little progress has been made regarding the replicability and scalability of solutions due to a lack of understanding and actions from employers.

Overall, people neglect the fact that there are factors about themselves outside of work which could impact their mental health at work. Nowadays, wellbeing has become a main factor for employee retention pushing industries to innovate and provide impactful solutions.

With growing awareness surrounding mental health in the workplace, it has become impossible for employers to ignore their responsibilities towards staff. The lack of regulatory guidance and structure around mental health in work spaces has created a gap that most companies are failing to bridge.

People current state and future state

Current state

Future state

Care of mental health and wellbeing in the workplace is seen as a department's responsibility or that of passionate advocates

  • In some cases, the Health and Safety department and in some cases the HR (human resources) department
  • Typically, physical health falls within Health and safety in the workplace
  • Typically, mental health is falls into HR in the workplace

Mental health and wellbeing is seen as everyone's responsibility not a single department

  • Both Health and Safety and HR see the role they can play and actively work together
  • There are more passionate advocates

Sometimes it takes a mental health episode in the workplace before mental health and wellbeing is brought into sharp focus

  • The focus is on response not education and prevention, if not recognized early enough.
  • Senior management or HR look for answers to learn from what has happened.

There is sustained effort to educate about mental health and wellbeing in the workplace

  • Employees don't wait to respond; we are proactive in prevention rather than reactive in response
  • Mental health is neutral, it is understood that everybody has good days and bad days and take action to improve their mental health - i.e. mental fitness or like taking vitamins

Mental health and wellbeing proved far more complex than physical health

  • It is harder to measure mental health in comparison to physical health
  • There are less evidence-based interventions with mental health and wellbeing than physical health

We accept mental health and wellbeing is more complex than physical health and therefore different and new approaches will be needed

  • There is an acceptance that you can't measure everything but we understand we do have the ability to measure some things in some situations
  • There is evidence available of what you can do in education and prevention to limit critical responses

There is a generation and an industry gap in the understanding of mental health and wellbeing

  • Older generations can believe talking about mental health could be perceived as a weakness
  • There is stigma with the older generation
  • Young workers joining the workplace are driving the change - requesting what can be offered
  • The construction industry is one of the most challenging industries for mental wellbeing
  • People are getting more comfortable with talking about and sharing their mental health

There is a common and informed understanding of mental health and wellbeing and why stigma is not necessary

  • The younger generation has had an impact on the older generation
  • Different industries recognise they have impact on employees that may be distinct

People don't see mental health training as transferable skill (like they do with physical health training)

Skills in mental health first aid are considered transferable and developed as a community resilience asset

Technology current state and future state

Current state

Future state

Lockdown has created global awareness regarding mental health but developed challenges to provide adequate support to struggling workforce.

  • The pandemic has created appetite for employers to buy into mental wellbeing solutions but only few of them exist and have been proven successful
  • Current processes and mechanisms in place for employees are outdated and do not reflect the evolution of the workplace post-pandemic
  • Although physical harm in the workplace is monitored, no measurements exist regarding wellbeing to provide evidence of the challenge.
  • Even if employers are willing to improve on wellbeing in the workplace, there is no obvious place to start delivering support

Sufficient support, processes and mechanisms are in place to monitor, evaluate and support mental health wellbeing in the workplace

  • New processes and mechanisms are put in place to protect and prevent mental harm in the workplace
  • Employers are now equipped with multiple options to support the wellbeing of their employees
  • Mental health incidents are being monitored and measured to develop insights and solutions in the same way as physical accidents
  • Mental health is owned by everyone at the workplace and standards are met across businesses and industries

Finance current state and future state

Current state

Future state

Employers are beginning to trial mental health initiatives within the workplace but with limited expenditure

  • Companies are beginning to introduce mental health support but it is seen as a 'pilot' or a 'trial' currently.
  • There is limited to no funding available and specifically dedicated to mental wellbeing in the workplace.

Mental health is recognised and expenditure is aligned to it as with physical health

  • Mental health is seen in the same light as physical health and employers' budget for it in the same way.
  • Expenditure on mental health support is continuous and fully integrated.

The ad-hoc support for mental health wellbeing in the workplace is resulting in high turnover of staff and a loss of productivity

  • Employees taking part in the 'great resignation' and want to know what their employer is doing to support their mental health.
  • Lack of mental health support by employers is leading to a high turnover of staff, loss of productivity through 'absenteeism' and 'presenteeism', and high cost of recruitment and retention.
  • Lack of reporting of mental health 'episodes' within the workplace masks the true cost of poor mental health support in the workplace.

Mental health wellbeing and its impact of productivity, staff recruitment and retention is understood resulting in improved retention rates and efficiencies

  • Staff feel supported, productivity increases, with less absenteeism and higher retention rates.
  • Employers find cost savings through improved staff retention and increased productivity.

In scope

  • Digital solutions
  • Services that communicate response and education more efficiently
  • A digital solution which brings information together
  • Employee and employer side solutions which bring together all the options

Out of scope

  • Training and skills development products
  • Mental health and wellbeing content development
  • Design and delivery of courses

Wellbeing Challenge

Wellbeing for all in the workplace

The solutions to this challenge:

Will support employers to become more aware of the benefits of good mental health within the workplace to focus on prevention rather than the response to mental health incidents.

Products and services which:

  • Help record mental health accident within the workplace
  • Monitor and develop insights on a company's mental health levels
  • Define guideline and standards for mental wellbeing in the workplaces.
  • Help shift from responsive action to preventive actions regarding wellbeing

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