Supporting employee health and wellbeing at Leeds Trinity University
At Leeds Trinity University, we’re committed to ensuring everyone in our community feels supported and valued, and in the past few years we have been recognised nationally at the Universities Human Resources (UHR) Awards for our holistic approach to engagement, health and wellbeing.
National statistics show that one in six employees experience a mental health condition in any given year*, whilst 12.7% of all sickness absence days in the UK can be attributed to mental health conditions**.
Considering these statistics, we wanted to share the initiatives in place at Leeds Trinity, to support the health and wellbeing needs of all University employees.
Juice Portal: A gateway for a healthier, happier you
In January 2017, Leeds Trinity was one of the first universities to launch Juice, an online portal created to support the health and wellbeing of its 450 academic and professional staff. Co-founded by Leeds Trinity alumnus Gary Butterfield, Juice features a wealth of online information and resources including an activities calendar to promote positive lifestyle changes.
Employees can benefit from regular health checks, weekly fruit deliveries, mindfulness workshops and Learning Lunches which cover topics such as mental health, nutrition and financial wellbeing. These sessions are free, and staff can attend during their working hours.
Since the launch of Juice, there has been a 13% increase (56% to 69%) in the number of staff who believe that the University is effective in supporting wellbeing, with this figure likely to rise by 2020.
Absence Management: A new approach
The University recently launched a more positive approach to Absence Management, which ensures that anyone experiencing illness due to mental health is fully supported by HR and line managers, through a “day one” reporting mechanism. This was supplemented by Mental Health Awareness training delivered byLeeds Mind.
This proactive approach has meant that mental health absences at Leeds Trinity are now 3.4% lower than the sector target, with the HR team supporting employees returning to work after suffering from complex and serious mental health illness.
Mental Health First Aid Training
In March 2019, the University facilitated 16 staff to be trained and accredited in Mental Health First Aid. Due to popular demand, a further 15 staff were trained and accredited this month. Approximately 10% of our employees are now trained Mental Health First Aiders.
Mental Health First Aiders can be contacted during work hours to talk about anything that might be causing staff or students concern and can help point them in the right direction for further support as appropriate. All conversations are strictly confidential.
Staff and their family members can also access the Employee Assistance Programme 24 hours a day, seven days a week for free, confidential advice. This service offers support and guidance with everyday issues, including legal and financial matters, health queries and relationship worries.
Leeds City Council’s Anchors Network
The University is part of the Anchors Network, an initiative set up by Leeds City Council in partnership with local public sector organisations to promote inclusive growth in the Leeds area. The network’s objective is to maximise local benefits from spending, services and recruitment strategies across Leeds.
Leeds Trinity was invited to the network based on our leading HR strategies. We have been used as a case study for Employee Health and Wellbeing in recognition of our approach towards supporting physical and mental health in employment, wellbeing and resilience.
We have also recently become a Chartered Mindful Employer, in partnership with Mindful Employer Leeds. The Charter is voluntary, and is not an accreditation, award or set of quality standards. Mindful Employer offers advice on good practice around mental health in the workplace.
Working with Mindful Employer gives us access to timely and local support for staff during sickness absences, stress management workshops, wellbeing sessions and management training.
* Lelliott, P., Tulloch, S., Boardman, J., Harvey, S., & Henderson, H. (2008). Mental health and work. Available here [Accessed 18/06/2019].
** ONS. (2014). Full Report: Sickness Absence on the Labour Market, February 2014. Available here [Accessed 18/06/19].