Stress and mental health problems are the leading causes of long-term absence in the rail industry but this could be reduced if line managers received better training.
That is according to the RSSB, which has launched the findings as part of Mental Health Awareness Week.
The rail industry body said that great strides are being made to end the stigma and break down barriers to people being open about their own mental health.
However, emerging findings from its own research suggests there are untapped benefits in better line manager training, meaning staff could be better supported in getting the right treatment and returning to work.
Investment in both traditional face-to-face and online training could yield benefits to both the overall health and wellbeing of the industry’s workforce and also to the bottom line.
Training would contribute to rail companies’ broader mental health strategies for effective rehabilitation, which could reduce lost working time by up to 30 per cent, according to the RSSB, which is now working with companies to develop practical options for line management training.
RSSB mental wellbeing specialist Michelle O’Sullivan said: “Rail companies are increasingly recognising the importance and benefits of addressing mental health issues, as evidenced by awareness-raising initiatives such as Mental Health Awareness Week – and which are endorsed authentically by senior leadership teams.
“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.”