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29 May 2019, 05:55 | Updated: 29 May 2019, 06:05
West Midlands Combined Authority's Thrive team and partners are celebrating news of a £6.8m Midlands Engine award for a workplace mental health pilot.
The pioneering programme has won a contract to boost health and productivity across the region.
As part of the Midlands Engine strategy a Midlands Skills Challenge was set up to discover ways to close the skills gap between the Midlands and the rest of the country.
As part of the Skills Challenge the new Mental Health and Productivity pilot will find innovative ways to reduce levels of sickness absence and the number of people falling out of work due to mental health conditions.
WMCA wellbeing director Supt Sean Russell said: "We are delighted to have been given this opportunity to scale up our work and build on some of the existing Thrive initiatives which have been developing in the West Midlands over the last three years.
"We can also learn from the work undertaken by MIND nationally to promote a strong evidence-based delivery programme for the whole Midlands."
Midlands Engine Programme Director Fiona Piercy said: "Mental health has a huge impact on productivity with 15.4 million working days lost every year due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2017/18.
"This pilot is a fantastic opportunity for the Midlands to find new and proven ways to support people with mental health conditions to remain in work and be effective in their roles.
"It cannot be underestimated the positive impact this work could bring to our region and I am delighted to be working with our chosen partners to achieve this."
Professor Guy Daly, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Health and Life Sciences, said: "Over the next three years, the Midlands Engine Mental Health Productivity Pilot will engage with over 1,600 businesses, train 45,000 staff and offer a free online resource that aims to reach one million people.
"Together we will deliver a step change in the support offered to employers and employees, which will deliver better mental health, leading to higher levels of productivity across all types of organisations in the East and West Midlands."