Bryony Gordon, Rebecca Adlington, Jason Fox and Dr Rupy Aujla among the star line-up for Rail Wellbeing Live 2021: Station staff at Barrier in Tree Pose

Wednesday 1 Sep 2021

Bryony Gordon, Rebecca Adlington, Jason Fox and Dr Rupy Aujla among the star line-up for Rail Wellbeing Live 2021

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  • Registration has opened for Rail Wellbeing Live, the rail industry’s biggest free wellbeing event, which returns on 17 to 18 November
  • More than 100 speakers and 75 pick ‘n’ mix free sessions to choose from
  • New for 2021: 10pm evening sessions to attract frontline workers; and opportunity to nominate colleague for Wellbeing Hero Award.

Mental health campaigner and best-selling author Bryony Gordon, double gold Olympic medallist swimmer Rebecca Adlington, Channel 4’s SAS: Who Dares Wins star Jason Fox, and Dr Rupy Aujla, a GP and founder of The Doctor's Kitchen website feature in the health and wellbeing speaker line-up for this year's Rail Wellbeing Live.

Following the huge success of the inaugural event in 2020 which was attended by more than 13,000 people, the rail industry's largest free health and wellbeing event returns online on 17 to 18 November and is set to be even bigger and better. Like last year, it will be open to Britain’s 240,000-strong rail workforce for free, where suicides are among the highest in the UK workforce at 1.6 times the national average.

Ill-health in the rail industry is estimated to cost £790m per year with a 3.9% absence rate due to health issues – mental and physical - more than double the private sector average.  And this year, the ONS have said that one in five adults in Britain experienced some form of depression in early 2021, more than double the level recorded before the pandemic.

Rail Wellbeing Live is the brainchild of the Rail Wellbeing Alliance, a cross-industry rail group, made up of train operating companies, suppliers and industry bodies.  The free online two-day event offers everyone in the rail industry the opportunity to come together and connect with industry and high-profile speakers to get inspiration, tips and guidance on how to tackle a wide range of health and wellbeing issues.

John Halsall, chair of the Rail Wellbeing Alliance and managing director for Network Rail’s Southern Region, said: “We know that 60% of workers have experienced mental health issues at some point, and with the ongoing uncertainty around COVID-19, there has never been a more important time to look after ourselves and our colleagues.

“Rail Wellbeing Live is about giving everyone in the industry the chance to tap into inspirational speakers who will be offering practical guidance on health and wellbeing issues whether it be stress, loneliness, relationships or depression.  Last year, former RMT general secretary Mick Cash shared an incredibly moving account about his own battle with mental health which led to many others opening up about their own experience and getting the support they needed.

“So, it doesn’t matter where you work in the rail industry, so long as you have a mobile device or access to a computer, you can join us 17 to 18 November and we really hope you do. All the content is free, so please spread the word as we’d like as many people to benefit from this event as possible.”

Like last year, Rail Wellbeing Live 2021 will address all aspects of health and wellbeing in an engaging, fun way. The star of Channel 4’s SAS: Who Dares Wins and former Special Forces agent, Jason Fox, will be talking about building resilience in challenging times. Double gold Olympic medallist swimmer Rebecca Adlington will discuss work-life balance and recognising what is truly important. Also new for 2021, is the introduction of sessions at 10pm which will cover nutrition for shift work and how to reduce fatigue.

The event has four themes, each with their own speakers and panel discussions, covering: inspirational health and wellbeing talks to inspire your wellbeing journey; sessions for managers and leaders to set the foundation for a healthy workplace; an interactive and practical programme to try new things and improve your physical and mental health; and best practice industry sessions from within the railway family, with new wellbeing ideas and initiatives to take back to your own company.

Everyone who registers for the event at www.railwellbeinglive.co.uk before 30 September will be entered into a prize draw and given the chance to nominate a colleague for a Wellbeing Hero Award.  The winner of the award will be announced at Rail Wellbeing Live and will be someone who has gone above and beyond to promote and deliver health and wellbeing in the rail industry.  

Dr Michelle O’Sullivan, Chartered Clinical Psychologist and technical lead for the event said: “Since Covid-19, we’ve seen rates of anxiety and depression increase over three-fold. There’s no easy solution when so much is outside our control. At this year’s Rail Wellbeing Live we’re going to focus on the things that are within our control and provide as many tools as possible to build back better for ourselves and our communities.”

Attendees can also take part in activities like breathing exercises, meditation or using music to manage emotions, all from the comfort of their own home (or mess room). Other speakers over the two days include mental health campaigner and best-selling author Bryony Gordon and Dr Rupy Aujla, a GP and founder of The Doctor's Kitchen website.

All the content over the two days will be livestreamed and available 24/7 for two weeks after the event, but you need to register to be able to access it. Visit www.railwellbeinglive.co.uk before 30 September to register to be part of the prize draw and get the chance to nominate someone for the Wellbeing Award.

Notes to Editors

  • Interviews with John Halsall, chair of the Rail Wellbeing Alliance and managing director for Network Rail’s Southern Region, are available on request.

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