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Managing Minds at Work: Development of a Digital Line Manager Training Program

Blake, Holly; Vaughan, Benjamin; Bartle, Craig; Yarker, Jo; Munir, Fehmidah; Marwaha, Steven; Daly, Guy; Russell, Sean; Meyer, Caroline; Hassard, Juliet; Thomson, Louise

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Professor of Behavioural Medicine

Benjamin Vaughan

Craig Bartle

Jo Yarker

Fehmidah Munir

Steven Marwaha

Guy Daly

Sean Russell

Caroline Meyer


Mental ill-health is the leading cause of sickness absence, creating a high economic burden. Workplace interventions aimed at supporting employers in the prevention of mental ill-health in the workforce are urgently required. Managing Minds at Work is a digital intervention aimed at supporting line managers in promoting better mental health at work through a preventative approach. This intervention was developed as part of the Mental Health and Productivity Pilot, a wider initiative aimed at supporting employers across the Midlands region of the United Kingdom to improve the future of workplace mental health and wellbeing. The aim of the study is to describe the design and development of the Managing Minds at Work digital training program, prior to feasibility testing. We adopted a collaborative participatory design involving co-design (users as partners) and principles of user-centred design (pilot and usability testing). An agile methodology was used to co-create intervention content with a stakeholder virtual community of practice. Development processes were mapped to core elements of the Medical Research Council (MRC) framework for developing and evaluating complex interventions. The program covers five broad areas: (i) promoting self-care techniques among line managers; (ii) designing work to prevent work-related stress; (iii) management competencies to prevent and reduce stress; (iv) having conversations with employees about mental health; (v) building a psychologically safe work environment. It was considered by stakeholders to be appropriate for any type of organization, irrespective of their size or resources. Pilot and usability testing (n = 37 surveys) aligned with the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) demonstrated that the program was perceived to be useful, relevant, and easy to use by managers across sectors, organization types, and sizes. We identified positive impacts on manager attitudes and behavioral intentions related to preventing mental ill-health and promoting good mental wellbeing at work. The next step is to explore the feasibility and acceptability of Managing Minds at Work with line managers in diverse employment settings.


Blake, H., Vaughan, B., Bartle, C., Yarker, J., Munir, F., Marwaha, S., …Thomson, L. (2022). Managing Minds at Work: Development of a Digital Line Manager Training Program. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(13), Article 8006.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 22, 2022
Online Publication Date Jun 29, 2022
Publication Date Jul 1, 2022
Deposit Date Jul 5, 2022
Publicly Available Date Jul 5, 2022
Journal International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Print ISSN 1661-7827
Electronic ISSN 1660-4601
Publisher MDPI AG
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 19
Issue 13
Article Number 8006
Keywords Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis; Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
Public URL
Publisher URL


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