Category Archives: Health & Welfare

Innovative Digital Health Hub For South Yorkshire

A new £4 million digital healthcare hub to tackle healthcare inequalities is set to transform how patients are treated in South Yorkshire.

The South Yorkshire Digital Health Hub, led by the University of Sheffield, will drive the development of innovative digital technologies to improve the way diseases are treated and diagnosed by using cutting-edge research using data from smartphones, wearables, new sensors, combining this with NHS data and using artificial intelligence to develop new clinical tools.

The hub will bring together a range of partners, including the University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, GPs, mental health services, the Sheffield Integrated Care System in South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw, businesses and patient and public groups, to share knowledge, skills and build upon the existing regional strength in developing innovative digital health technologies.

Sheffield is one of five hubs across the UK to be awarded part of £16.5 million from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Health Ageing and Wellbeing and Tackling Infections UKRI Strategic Themes.

The hubs will focus on four key healthcare challenges:

  • Antimicrobial Resistance
  • Health and care outside hospital and disease prediction, diagnosis and intervention
  • Tackling health inequalities by developing digital healthcare technologies to the point of use in the NHS
  • Addressing the health needs of underserved communities

    The South Yorkshire Digital Hub will cover a region of 1.4 million people affected by high levels of disease and health inequalities. The hub will respond to unmet needs of urban and rural populations which are shaped by significant health and social inequalities.

    It will also offer new opportunities for improving health and economic growth in the region through digital skills training and sharing, networking and knowledge exchange, connecting diverse stakeholders in digital health from academia, healthcare, industry, public and private organisations, and the wider public.

    The hub will offer specialist health training for researchers, clinicians, patients and the public, made freely available online.

    Professor Tim Chico, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine from the University of Sheffield and Director of the South Yorkshire Digital Health Hub, said: “People in South Yorkshire are affected by widening health inequality and high levels of disease, including heart and lung disease, cancer and mental health issues. This investment in cutting-edge health technology research aims to tackle the issue by developing digital healthcare to use in the NHS and benefit patients in our region and beyond.”

    “The hub will allow colleagues from healthcare, academia, business and patients to come together to drive pioneering digital health which will transform the way we treat and diagnose diseases and most critically improve health.”

    Professor Steve Haake is the Deputy Director of the Digital Health Hub, which will be based at Sheffield Hallam University’s Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre. He said: “The establishment of the South Yorkshire Digital Health Hub is a fantastic opportunity for the region.”

    “Our vision is to develop digital health tools that incorporate information from daily life to help patients and healthcare professionals make the right decisions at the right time. The hub will support patients, clinicians, companies and the general public to design their own apps and tools and help them to be used successfully in the NHS.”

    Oliver Coppard, Mayor of the South Yorkshire Combined Authority, said: “The Digital Health Hub will help advance our plans to address the health inequalities holding our region back. South Yorkshire being at the forefront of this work is a testament to the ever-increasing collaboration between the NHS, our Universities and our business community, and yet more evidence of the strength of our cutting-edge health and wellbeing sector.”

    “As ever, South Yorkshire is rising to the challenges facing our region in a way that is truly world-leading.”

    The Digital Healthcare Hubs are part of a wider £36.5 million investment in healthcare technology from EPSRC.

    Dr Kedar Pandya, Executive Director of Cross-Council Programmes of EPSRC, said: “The projects and hubs announced today will deliver a variety of innovative approaches to improve healthcare outcomes for patients.”

    “This investment will support scientists and engineers who are transforming the way we treat and diagnose diseases by using the latest developments in robotics, computer modelling and imaging.”

Horticulturists Achieve Over 16 Million Steps For Perennial Charity

Employees at one of the UK’s largest plant nurseries, Johnsons of Whixley, have achieved over 16 million steps during April as part of a company challenge for Move More April to raise money for Perennial, the UK’s leading horticultural charity.

Move More is an annual celebration that encourages individuals to move more and sit less in their daily lives. Johnsons of Whixley employees involved in the challenge raised over £550 for Perennial and achieved 16.3 million steps in 30 days.

40 staff at the Yorkshire nursery pledged to walk 10,000 steps each day during April and raise money for the charity, which supports those working in, or retired from horticulture when times get tough. Teams of four were drawn out of a hat and were each given a plant variety as the team’s name.

The winning team, ‘Hydrangea’, achieved over 2.2 million steps and included Katie Short, Simon Harrison, Tracey Richardson and Martyn Osbourne. Martyn achieved a whopping 927,841 steps alone.

Other employees involved in the challenge included Jack Witham, Vicky Newell, Hannah Reilly, Freya Lamacq-Wigham, Rob Forrester, Hannah Holland, Katie Burlingham, Dmytro Orlov, Adrian Price, Eleanor Richardson, Katie Rothwell, Sarah Perry, Adam Davis, Matt Campey, Lynda Pearson, Kirsten Morgan, Marcin Czajkowski, Paul Richardson, Tony Green, Sarah Greenwood, Tony Coles, Jo Goodyear, Tom Watkins, Rachael Richardson, Terry Cooper, Karl Connors, Cassie Hasslegrove, Louise Roberts, Isaac Onions, Jonathan Richardson, Anna Sibley, Mark Weatherill, Claire Horner, Catherine Cowling, Chris Edgar and Phil Georgiou.

All staff taking part in the challenge received a Johnsons water bottle and certificate with the winning team members receiving a gift voucher each.

Challenge organiser and marketing manager at Johnsons of Whixley, Eleanor Richardson, said: “I was overwhelmed with the number of Johnsons employees who signed up for this year’s step challenge to raise money for Perennial, it shows how keen we all are to support the UK’s only charity dedicated to helping those in our industry. Benefits from the challenge include team building and improved mental and physical well-being. Walking 10,000 steps a day can reduce the risk of illnesses such as stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer in particular, not to mention the obvious weight loss benefits. Well done to all involved.”

Phil Swainston, corporate partnership manager for Perennial added: “Many thanks to all the staff at our new Perennial partner, Johnsons of Whixley for undertaking their fantastic steps challenge throughout April. It is a great example of how the industry can support the charity, not only through partnership, but also through individual fundraising initiatives to spread our message that Perennial is here for all those working in horticulture that may need our help.“

Arco Clothing Centre Raises Funds for Children’s Appeal

Colleagues from Arco’s clothing centre, in Preston, have raised more than £2,500 so far this year for the Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Charity Children’s Appeal.

The centre has supported the hospital charity team since 2020, with colleagues regularly organising fundraising events and initiatives, including dress down days, raffles, sales, fun competitions and sponsored events.

In March, three colleagues raised more than £500 by abseiling 128 feet from Peel Tower, near Bury, and, more recently, £640 was raised for the appeal from the sale of Easter toys, door wreaths, cards, cakes and other treats, which colleagues had made and donated to be sold at an Easter market.

More is to come when, later this month, colleagues will either take to the roads on their bikes or walk a 25-mile route around Preston for the sponsored ‘Guild Wheel’ challenge.

Pam Walmsley, Operations Manager (Production), said: “We are so proud to have raised funds for such a worthy cause. As a long-time supporter of the Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Charity, we look forward to raising even more money – with events taking place each month throughout the year.”

The Children’s Appeal is aiming to raise £1million for a wish list of items to bring about a raft of improvements to children’s in and outpatients at the Royal Preston Hospital, Chorley and South Ribble Hospital and Leyland’s Broadoaks Child Development Centre, as well as all other children’s facilities managed by Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Lucy Clark, Children’s Appeal Fundraiser at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Charity, said: “We are extremely grateful to everyone at the Arco Clothing Centre for their wonderful support. We know staff vote on which local charity to fundraise for, so it means a lot to us in the charity team and to everyone who works for the trust that they have chosen to back our work.”

How Does Sleep Affect Work Productivity?

Sleep is essential for maintaining good physical and mental health, as well as overall well-being. Getting enough quality sleep is important for our ability to function at our best, both in our personal lives and in the workplace.

Here, Martin Seeley, Sleep Expert and CEO of Mattressnextday shares how a lack of sleep can affect us physically and mentally, and also shares tips on getting a better night’s sleep.

Concentration and Focus: Lack of sleep can lead to difficulty concentrating and focusing, making it harder to stay on task and complete work efficiently. A good night’s sleep can help improve cognitive function, attention span, and decision-making abilities.

Energy and Alertness: Without sufficient rest, workers may feel sluggish, fatigued, and lacking in energy. This can make it harder to perform tasks that require physical exertion or mental effort, leading to a decrease in productivity.

Memory and Learning: Sleep plays a critical role in consolidating memories and learning new information. Without adequate sleep, the brain may struggle to process and store new information, making it harder to learn and retain new skills.

Mood and Emotions: Lack of sleep can lead to irritability, mood swings, and decreased emotional regulation. This can impact communication with colleagues and decrease overall job satisfaction.

How can I get a better night’s sleep?

  1. Stick to a regular sleep schedule: Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. This can help regulate your body’s internal clock and improve the quality of your sleep.
  2. Create a sleep-conducive environment: Your bedroom should be quiet, cool, and dark to promote restful sleep. Use blackout curtains, earplugs, or a white noise machine to block out any distractions.
  3. Limit screen time before bed: The blue light emitted by electronic devices can interfere with your body’s production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep. Try to avoid using electronic devices for at least an hour before bed.
  4. Establish a relaxing bedtime routine: Develop a relaxing routine before bed to help your body unwind and prepare for sleep. This could include taking a warm bath, reading a book, or practicing relaxation techniques such as meditation or deep breathing.
  5. Avoid caffeine and alcohol: Stimulants like caffeine and alcohol can disrupt your sleep cycle and make it harder to fall asleep or stay asleep. Try to avoid consuming these substances in the hours leading up to bedtime.
  6. Exercise regularly: Regular exercise can improve the quality of your sleep and reduce the amount of time it takes to fall asleep. Just make sure to avoid exercising too close to bedtime, as this can interfere with your ability to fall asleep.

By making these simple changes to your daily routine, you can improve the quality of your sleep and feel more rested and productive at work. Of course, your sleep quality also depends on the comfort of your mattress and bedding, making sure you are comfortable is the number one thing you can do for your sleep routine.

New Community Woodland Set To Be Created

A new community woodland is set to be created in Dinnington. Funding has been secured to create a new community woodland off Athorpe Road in Dinnington, where 7,700 young trees are set to be planted on former grazing land.

The woodland will be named the Queen Elizabeth II Community Woodland, as a tribute to Her Late Majesty and her Platinum Jubilee Queen’s Green Canopy initiative.

This project has been supported by the South Yorkshire Woodland Partnership and will be funded through the Woodland Trust’s Grow Back Greener programme, as part of the Northern Forest.

The new woodland will be a space for the community. The design reflects this with walkways and space provided for sledging days over the winter months.

Biodegradable tree guards will protect the newly planted tree whips and this will ensure that there is no plastic waste on the site.

Work has already taken place to prepare the site. Children from Laughton All Saints CofE Primary School took part in a litter pick day recently.

A community planting day will take place on Saturday 25 February from 10.30am to 3pm. This will be a drop-in session and local residents are encouraged to come along. Gloves and spades will be provided on the day. The meeting point will be off Athorpe Road (opposite Tesco car park).

Planting days with schools and community groups are also set to take place over the coming months.

The Council has made a commitment to achieve net zero by 2030 and is investing in staff, resources and schemes to contribute towards achieving this target.

As part of the Council’s pledge to tackle climate change, a target has been set to plant 10,500 trees in Rotherham every year for the next 10 years. Last year, the Council exceeded the target and planted 22,139 trees in the borough.

Councillor David Sheppard, Cabinet Member for Social Inclusion at Rotherham Council, said: “Climate change is an important issue and as a Council we are taking steps to respond to the climate emergency.”

“The Queen Elizabeth II Community Woodland forms part of our efforts to create a greener and cleaner local environment for residents.
“There will be lots of opportunities for people to get involved in this exciting project, including a planting day, which is set to take place later this month.”

Matt North, Programme Manager at the South Yorkshire Woodland Partnership, said: “We work with public and private landowners to develop and fund woodland creation that’s of benefit for people and wildlife. We really enjoyed working with council officers designing a woodland that will be a home for nature that the public can enjoy.”

“It’s fantastic to see the local community being able to take part in helping create and care for this significant project in Dinnington.”

AI Could Speed Up Delivery Of New Medicines

Artificial intelligence that could reduce the cost and speed-up the discovery of new medicines has been developed as part of a collaboration between researchers at the University of Sheffield and AstraZeneca.

  • University of Sheffield researchers in collaboration with AstraZeneca have developed artificial intelligence (AI) that could reduce the cost and speed up the discovery of new drugs
  • Technology improves drug-target prediction – the measurement of whether a new candidate medicine can interact with important protein molecules in the human body to fight disease
  • AI has the potential to inform whether a drug will successfully engage an intended cancer-related protein, or whether a candidate drug will bind to unintended targets in the body and lead to undesirable side-effects for patients

The new technology, developed by Professor Haiping Lu and his PhD student Peizhen Bai from Sheffield’s Department of Computer Science, with Dr Filip Miljković and Dr Bino John from AstraZeneca, is described in a new study published in Nature Machine Intelligence.

The study demonstrates that the AI, called DrugBAN, can predict whether a candidate drug will interact with its intended target protein molecules inside the human body.

AI that can predict whether drugs will reach their intended targets already exists, but the technology developed by the researchers at Sheffield and AstraZeneca can do this with greater accuracy and also provide useful insights to help scientists understand how drugs engage with their protein partners at a molecular level, according to the paper published today (2 February 2023).

AI has the potential to inform whether a drug will successfully engage an intended cancer-related protein, or whether a candidate drug will bind to unintended targets in the body and lead to undesirable side-effects for patients.

The AI is trained to learn the substructures of proteins in the human body as well those of drug compounds. The technology then learns how these substructures can interact with each other, which it draws on to make predictions on how new medicines will likely behave.

Haiping Lu, Professor of Machine Learning at the University of Sheffield, said: “We designed the AI with two primary objectives. Firstly, we want the AI to capture how drugs interact with their targets at a finer scale, as this could provide useful biological insights to help researchers understand these interactions on a molecular level. Secondly, we want the tool to be able to predict what these interactions will be with new drugs or targets to help accelerate the overall prediction process. The study we’ve published today shows our AI model does both of these.”

Key to the AI’s design is how the model learns pairwise substructure interactions – the multiple interactions that can take place between substructures of drug compounds and proteins in the body. Whereas most existing drug prediction AI on the market learn from whole representations of drugs and proteins, which don’t capture their substructures and so provide less useful insights.

In the next stage of the AI’s development, the team plans to use more in-depth data on the structure of compounds and proteins to make the AI even more accurate.

Dr Bino John, Director of Data Science, Clinical Pharmacology and Safety Sciences (CPSS), at AstraZeneca, said: “A key novelty of DrugBAN is its reliance on a bilinear attention network that allows it to learn interactions from substructures of both drugs and their targets simultaneously. We have also made the source code freely available to the public, which hopefully will support more AI approaches that will continue to accelerate drug discovery.”

Drug discovery and development using traditional methods can be incredibly difficult, with lengthy development times and huge sums of money in expenditure. However, drug discovery processes have the potential to be significantly accelerated; with advances in AI and digital technology, researchers are finding new ways to pinpoint which proteins a drug may interact with in our body.

Nick Brown, Head of Imaging and Data Analytics, CPSS, AstraZeneca, said “I am really excited to see this paper, particularly because unlike other approaches, DrugBAN simultaneously learns from candidate drugs and their targets using a bilinear attention network, and is explicitly designed to generalise the problem.”

Professor Guy Brown, Head of the University of Sheffield’s Department of Computer Science, added: “Our research at Sheffield is strongly motivated by a desire to make a positive difference to people’s lives, and we see interaction with industry leaders such as AstraZeneca as crucial to that mission.”

“This is exciting research which will hopefully allow significant advances in the design of therapeutics. The approach is also distinctive for its focus on interpretability, enabling human experts to benefit from insights generated by the AI system.”

New Competition Launched To Celebrate Neurodiversity

Hull City Council will be marking Neurodiversity Celebration Week by inviting young people in Hull to take part in a creative competition that celebrates neurodiversity.

Neurodiversity Celebration Week takes place from 13-19 March. It’s a worldwide initiative that challenges stereotypes and misconceptions about autism and learning disabilities.

The competition has been held in partnership with Hull Culture and Leisure Ltd and the John Cracknell Youth Enterprise Bank. It will be judged by a panel including Deputy Lord Mayor Councillor Kalvin Neal, local artist and entrepreneur Robert Briggs, student author Luke Garner and entrepreneur Tony Robinson OBE.

The initiative aims to encourage schools to recognise the strengths and talents of young people who are neurodivergent, who think and learn differently, including students who are autistic, dyslexic, or have dyspraxia, dyscalculia or ADHD. It also hopes to help recognise the contribution made by people who are neurodivergent in the workplace and those running their own businesses.

People who, for instance, have dyslexia can be good at problem-solving and focusing on the wider picture, so many people who have dyslexia make great business leaders. Many entrepreneurs consider themselves neurodivergent and it is reported that 20% of the UK’s business self-starters are neurodivergent and 35% of company founders in America consider themselves dyslexic.

The competition challenges young people aged 25 and under in Hull, to produce an image to illustrate at least one of the conditions that come under the neurodiversity banner. Young people and schools can then submit them to Hull City Council and post them on their social media accounts, using the hashtags #NeuroDiversityWeek and #HullNDW23 #NCWeek #NCWeek23.

Last year’s winners came from Northcott School, Chiltern Primary School, St Mary’s College, Oakfield School, as well as a young entrepreneur Georgia Wormald of Fairytale Face Paints.

The judging panel will be chaired by Councillor Rob Pritchard, who will choose the individual three winners. They will receive cash prizes and the educational establishment with the overall best entries will receive £250 from the John Cracknell Youth Enterprise Bank to go towards celebrating next year’s Neurodiversity Celebration Week.

The winners will have afternoon tea with the Lord Mayor and have their images exhibited.

Councillor Rob Pritchard Cabinet Member for Communities said: “As a person with dyslexia myself, I am delighted to be chairing the judging panel for this competition to celebrate Neurodiversity Week 2023. I’m looking forward to seeing some great entries from the young people of Hull.”

“At Hull City Council, we believe it is important to raise awareness and encourage openness around neurodiversity. We recognise that as an employer ourselves, we must create an awareness as to the benefits and strengths of neurodiversity in the workplace. We are also delighted to be working with Neurodiversity in Business so that we can become a neurodiverse-friendly employer and service provider.”

Tony Robinson OBE, Microbusiness Champion and Patron of John Cracknell Youth Enterprise Bank said: “As a person with dyspraxia, I am delighted that the John Cracknell Youth Enterprise Bank are sponsoring this competition to honour Neurodiversity Celebration Week, especially as the founder is neurodivergent.”

“Many leading entrepreneurs including Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Lord Sugar, Anita Roddick, Jamie Oliver and IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad are neurodiverse, clearly showing that it is no hindrance to success. “

“Together we can celebrate all those in our community who are neurodiverse, after all we are human as well and deserve reasonable adjustment.”

Neurodiversity Celebration Week has over 1,400 schools and 685,000 students worldwide signed up to celebrate through themed events, guest speakers and raising awareness. The week is endorsed by over 20 charities and hundreds of businesses and organisations also take part, including the Stock Exchange, the U.K. Ministry of Defence, the Royal Navy, Deloitte, Savills and AstraZeneca, as well as local authorities like Hull City Council.

Entrants can email their submissions to

Alternatively, they can be posted to:

FAO Charles Cracknell
Neuro Diversity Celebration Week Competition
Hull City Council
Guildhall (Room 22D)
Alfred Gelder Street

The competition will close on Tuesday 14 March and judging will take place on Friday 17 March.

Young & Old Come Together For National StoryTelling Week

A group of pupils from Richard Taylor Primary School joined residents at not-for-profit organisation, Harrogate Neighbours for an afternoon of reading and reminiscing to mark National Storytelling Week (30th January – 5th February).

The year four children were excited to read and share their picture books, school reading books and a few of their personal favourites, including Kitchen Disco, Tear Thief and The Enormous Turnip with the residents at The Cuttings, Harrogate Neighbours’ extra care living scheme.

Talking about the visit, one pupil said, “it was really fun and so nice to see all the older people happy – we were laughing and giggling as Alan read a funny story to us.”

92-year-old, Alan added, “I loved it – I used to read stories to my grandchildren who are now in their 20s!.”

“I used to be a chemist and I have a PHD, but that doesn’t change anything – I like children, I think most people do, and I will do anything to take part, it’s great fun.”

This isn’t the first time the children have visited The Cuttings, the relationship between the school and Harrogate Neighbours was formed during lockdown when pupils were recorded reading stories to residents which were then played at The Cuttings to help with social isolation.

The recent visit forms part of Project CARE – an initiative Richard Taylor Primary School is involved in which seeks to raise awareness for primary aged children of the challenges the aging process brings so they can gain a better understanding and appreciation of older people.

Andrew Symonds, headteacher at Richard Taylor Primary School said, “Our partnership with Harrogate Neighbours is such an important one for Richard Taylor School; bringing the elderly and young together and building friendships and understanding between the two groups is such a valuable project and I hope that it can continue to flourish.”

CEO of Harrogate Neighbours, Sue Cawthray said, “It’s always so wonderful welcoming the pupils from Richard Taylor Primary School. They lift the spirits at The Cuttings and it’s lovely to see them interacting with the residents.”

“Reading and storytelling is a fantastic form of reminiscence therapy, particularly for the residents living with dementia. – we are really grateful for the relationship we have formed with Andrew and the fantastic staff at the school and we’re already looking forward to their next visit.”

To find out more about Harrogate Neighbours, become a volunteer or fundraise, visit here:

Employers Stepping Up To Address Call Centre Staff Stress

Research released by the CCMA (Call Centre Management Association) highlights the changing nature of calls taken in the contact centre are having an impact on frontline wellbeing, with more than half of frontline colleagues reporting at least one symptom of work-related stress or burnout. The good news is that employers are stepping up and providing support, with 42% of frontline colleagues receiving a bonus payment in 2022.

The research report, Wellbeing in the Contact Centre, unveils the cognitive load on the front line is becoming consistently more intense as simpler queries that offer advisors respite are increasingly deflected to self-serve. As a result, it’s getting harder for frontline colleagues to take appropriate breaks and recharge during the working day. The ability to take breaks is the most important factor separating those who experience signs of stress and burnout, versus those who do not.

Stephen Yap, CCMA’s Research Director, led the project and said, “Resilience is a collective concept and organisations and leaders have a critical role to play as the onus has shifted from self-managing to organisations’ responsibility to support. When you have more than half (52%) of frontline colleagues concerned about their ability to make ends meet, it’s not really surprising that more than a third of colleagues turn up for work when sick. It has become evident that organisations should be building shrinkage time into resourcing plans to allow people to take those valuable breaks.”

Interestingly, the research also revealed that 28% of frontline colleagues say they have cut back on essentials such as food and energy, with 17% saying they have used a food bank in the past year. In addition, 23% say they already spend more time in the office due to rising energy costs, and a further 41% say they may do so in the future, fuelling a return to the office.

“Colleague wellbeing has always been a priority in contact centres, but the experiences of recent years have placed it firmly at the very top of the agenda,” explains CEO at the CCMA, Leigh Hopwood. “We have conducted this incredibly thorough piece of research, canvassing views from across our community using multiple methods, to better understand wellbeing in the contact centre. I’d like to thank all those that supported this project, as the findings are fascinating and I hope provide the evidence for organisations to continue to build on their wellbeing programmes.”

“At Sabio, we’re strong advocates of highlighting the importance of advisor wellbeing and advisor empowerment,” says Tim Pickard, CMO at Sabio Group, supporters of the research.

“We believe a healthy and happy workforce directly correlates to better customer service, experiences and relations. As workplace mental health rightly moves up the executive agenda, this report is full of tangible insights in support of strategies that place the health and wellbeing of people at the heart of a vibrant and performant contact centre operation.”

“This research is essential reading for anyone involved in the contact centre industry. It will help to raise awareness of the benefits that positive wellbeing and advisor empowerment can bring – and not just to the contact centre itself, but the wider business overall.”

The research is a free download from the CCMA website here

Workplace Wellbeing Report Reveals Increased Suicidal Thoughts

A study of 4,170 employees has revealed that the amount of professionals experiencing moderate to high levels of stress has increased, affecting 76% of our workforce, a year-on-year increase of 13%. Worryingly, workers experiencing suicidal thoughts has also increased from 8% to 9%.

Data released by global workplace wellbeing provider Champion Health gives an insight into the health and wellbeing of the working population between January 2022 and October 2022.

Financial worries are reported as the leading cause for stress outside of work, cited by 37%, a 23% increase on last year’s report whilst perceived workload features as the highest cause of stress in work (73%).

The data, which has been published in Champion Health’s annual report also revealed that:

  • 60% of employees feel anxious with 56% experiencing low mood
  • Females are 22% more likely to feel anxious (65% female compared to 53% male)
  • Younger workers are most likely to experience anxiety and depression (67% of 16–24-year-olds experience symptoms of anxiety with 61% reporting symptoms of depression and 66% of 25–34-year-olds reporting symptoms of anxiety and 60% claim symptoms of depression)
  • Poor mental health negatively affects the performance of 1 in 5 employees
  • 81% say that they feel tired and 71% rate their sleep as ‘average’ or ‘worse’
  • Over 50% of employees rate their productivity as ‘average’ ‘below average’ or ‘low’ with 61% reporting tiredness impacts productivity
  • The survey showed that people feel most energised to work at 10.21am and are least energised at 3.31pm.

In addition, team culture and feeling supported at work positively correlates with mental wellbeing and productivity. Those who report ‘feeling part of a team’ experience greater positive mental wellbeing and feel more productive.

Whilst the findings point to a decline in our workers health, it’s not all doom and gloom as 98% of employees feel motivated to improve their wellbeing. 42% cite they’d like to boost their energy levels, closely followed by 41% reporting they’d like to lose weight. When asked what the barriers are to making health changes, 47% report willpower as the biggest barrier followed by 43% stating they face a lack of time.

Harry Bliss, CEO and co-founder of Champion Health, says that while the findings are worrying there is a positive in the amount of employees reporting they feel motivated to improve their wellbeing and that business leaders have an opportunity to improve workplace culture and support employees to thrive.

Bliss comments: “It’s no surprise that the last few years have been extremely tough on employees, and I’m really concerned about the findings of this report. The fact that workers experiencing suicidal thoughts has increased is terrifying; whilst a 1% increase from last year to 9% may seem low on the face of it, it isn’t, this means that in a workforce of 1,000 staff, 90 will be having thoughts about taking their own lives which could have a devastating impact.”

“Leaders need to step up and support their workforce, it is not only the moral thing to do but this research shows poor mental health, stress, and fatigue is increasingly affecting productivity, so it is also within the best interests of businesses.”

“Companies can help turn this dangerous pattern around by making employee wellbeing a priority; and doing so goes beyond having much happier employees. It will enable employers to retain great people who are motivated to complete brilliant work, day in, day out.”

Champion Health’s solutions were developed by world-leading academics, GPs, and technology professionals. Through a team of over 100 professionals and academics, the company is proud to have improved health and wellbeing outcomes across the UK and works with companies including Currys, Rabobank, and the NHS.

The Workplace Health Report: 2023 was developed by the Champion Health team with 35 contributors including global heads of HR, suicide prevention specialists and mental health first aiders.

View the report here