Thriving at work: the importance of workplace mental health post COVID-19

Paul Farmer discusses the importance of mental health in the workplace with our panel members Phil Hough, Poppy Jaman and Sean Russell.

25 November 2020

This special edition podcast was recorded as part of the NHS Reset campaign.

In this episode, presented by Deborah Lee, Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, discusses the importance of mental health in the workplace with our panel members Phil Hough, Poppy Jaman and Sean Russell.

Discussion chair: Deborah Lee, chief executive, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Deborah Lee joined the Gloucestershire Hospitals as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in June 2016 from the University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust (UHBNHSFT) where she was the Chief Operating Officer and Deputy CEO.

Deborah has been nationally recognised by the Health Service Journal as one of the Top 50 Inspirational Women in Healthcare and has made the Top 50 NHS Chief Executives list for the last two years running.

Interviewee: Paul Farmer, chief executive, Mind

Paul Farmer, CBE, has been chief executive of Mind, the leading mental health charity working in England and Wales since May 2006.

Paul is chair of the NHS England Independent Oversight and Advisory Group which brings together health and care leaders and experts to oversee the current mental health long term plan for the NHS in England. He co-authored ‘Thriving at Work’ for the government, setting out how to transform mental health in work places.


Phil Hough, vice-chair of the Mental Health Network and a carer representative with over 32 years’ experience.

Phil’s work includes independent consultation projects with NHS trusts, helping them to re-focus and develop their Involvement of service users and carers and enabling them to focus on the power of lived experience and enabling services to embrace recovery.

This work gives Phil the chance to continue to work with large and diverse groups of service users, carers and staff. He is a Member of the Patient Advisory Forum for Health Education England, and supports the delivery of the Mental health workforce agenda. He also works at a National and international level, including seminar and conference presentations, workshops, training and awareness sessions.

Poppy Jaman helped to found the City Mental Health Alliance (CMHA) in 2013 and has been CEO since 2015.

As CEO, Poppy works with senior business leaders from across the City to achieve their shared vision of creating workplaces where mental health is no longer stigmatised, but instead is treated in the same way as physical health. She wants employers to support employees in maintaining their mental wellbeing, leading to more sustainable workplaces where people can flourish.

Sean Russell, Implementation Director of the West Midlands Combined Authority Mental Health Commission.

Sean was part of the commission’s steering group, having played a key role in innovative police work around mental health in the region. He manages delivery of an action plan that aims to make a huge difference to people with mental health problems.

The action plan aims to help people with mental health problems stay in employment while stemming the flow into the criminal justice system and focusing on the importance of good-quality housing.