Workforce Wellbeing and Cultural Change, Via Creative Health

Workforce Wellbeing and Cultural Change, Via Creative Health

In June 2024, we hosted a roundtable discussion looking at the theme of Workforce Wellbeing and Cultural change, via Creative Health.

This is a topic that NCCH have been particularly interested in exploring in recent months, as a consequence of conversations shared within our Creative Health Champions Network. Consequently, we now have a Task and Finish group to further this agenda.

At the event there was a lively discussion between our roundtable participants and the wide-ranging professionals who joined us in the audience. Some of the key takeaways and topics of discussion included:

  1. The importance of a plan – your workforce will not be able to engage with wellbeing sessions if they are already skipping their breaks, so think carefully about how you intend for workstreams and wellbeing to be better integrated and managed.

  2. The importance of communication – once you have a plan, make sure that it is communicated clearly to your team, so that they can know what policies and procedures are available to them to protect their mental health and wellbeing.

  3. Review your environment – are your public-facing areas bright and beautiful whilst your staffrooms are dull and full of threat-based posters? Think about how you can address this balance.

  4. Train your managers – when managers are feeling stressed or overworked, they can start to display bullyish behaviours. So, consider how your manager training can support them in handling their stress and workload so that poor mental health outcomes don’t trickle throughout your organisational culture.

  5. Mutual recovery and non-hierarchical spaces – whether its patients and doctors getting to share the joy of live music together, managers and their staff having access to a wellbeing space which is free of organisational hierarchies, or service-users and service-providers treating one another as creative equals and experts of their own experience; think creatively about how you can build cultures that enable mutual recovery.

  6. Create a ‘wellbeing window’ – this is ringfenced time that is dedicated to supporting wellbeing. Whether this be an allocation of ‘wellbeing hours’ where staff have paid time to focus entirely on a wellbeing activity, or small moments planned into the working week to bring people together. A wellbeing window can be as small as 5-minutes and can involve easy activities like your team sharing a song from their Spotify playlist.

  7. The place of media – in our roundtable we heard about a project whereby film audiences were able to feel ‘accompanied’ during lockdown, thanks to a series of cartoons focused on mental health literacy. Think about the gentle and entertaining ways that you can help your workforce to feel seen and understood.

  8. The benefits of an external creative collaborator – many workplaces are struggling with working capacity, so the time to think about workforce wellbeing is often small or non-existent. By bringing in an external creative practitioner or a creative consultant for a short period of time, you can access a fresh perspective and gain some much-needed capacity to consider this agenda thoroughly.

  9. Incorporate creative activities into your workplace – there is now a plethora of literature available evidencing the benefits of the arts on health and wellbeing. For people who are new to the field of Creative Health, we recommend you check out our 2023 Creative Health Review.

Find out more:

To hear the other conversation topics explored at this event, you can view the discussion in full via the video:


This idea for this event was born from a conversation between our Creative Health Champion, Laura Waters, and our Midlands Creative Health Associate, Jane Hearst, at the beginning of the Creative Health Associates programme. Laura is an Arts in Hospital Manager at Derby and Burton NHS Trust, and is chair of the National Arts in Hospitals Network.

At this event, we were joined by a number of Midlands-based Creative Health professionals, including Matt Longley from 6ft From the Spotlight, Ruth Mills from Designs in Mind, and Paul Crawford from University of Nottingham.

The topic of this roundtable builds upon huddle work hosted by Laura and Jane at Royal Hospital Derby earlier this year. The following video summarises some of the content covered at the Workforce Wellbeing Huddle and Poetry created from the Huddle activities. Poetry presented by Beth Calverley, Workforce Wellbeing Huddle Facilitator.

The outcome of the huddle was a Theory of Change, which will shape the Workforce Wellbeing agenda of hospitals across the UK.

The Workforce Wellbeing and Cultural change, via Creative Health roundtable was the second of a four-part series of roundtable discussion events showcasing Creative Health leadership in the Midlands and beyond. To access other event recordings in the series, please visit the NCCH website at and scroll down to our blogs section or subscribe to our NCCH YouTube channel:

Or, to book onto future events, visit our Eventbrite collection at:

Image of Speakers from the Workforce Wellbeing Roundtable

Image of Speakers from the Workforce Wellbeing Roundtable