Community has called for more action to tackle mental health issues in the workplace. Union delegates are in Aviemore at the STUC Congress, where Community is speaking on the key debate on mental health. Community delegate, Stephen McGregor, a branch secretary at G4S, spoke on behalf of the union. Stephen told delegates:
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“For many of us, work is a major part of our lives. It’s where we spend the majority of our time. Where we get our income. And often where we make our friends. It is also inevitably a setting where we experience problems; one of those problems can be mental health conditions. More people are in work with a mental health condition than ever before, and that’s across all workplaces and all ages. But without the necessary help and support, many of these workers are struggling, and as a consequence are off sick, less productive or leaving employers.
“In any one year, over one in four people in the general population and one in six workers are likely to be suffering from a mental health condition. With over 31 million people in work in the UK, this is equivalent to over five million workers suffering from a mental health condition. But due to stigma, lack of knowledge, training and support on how to support friends and colleagues in the workplace, those millions of workers are being left to deal with their mental health issues alone and in silence.
“The total number of working days lost due to work-related stress, anxiety and depression reached 9.9 million days, and in many cases the days lost become the end of employment. In fact, as many as 300,000 people with a long term mental health condition leave employment every year. That’s 300,000 people leaving their income, stability and colleagues behind. Conference, to put that in perspective – that’s almost equivalent to the whole population of Edinburgh.
“Good mental health needs to and must be a priority for every workplace. That means employers knowing they have a duty to help when their workers are struggling with mental health. It means colleagues knowing how to spot the signs and look out for each other. It means transforming the way we understand mental health in the workplace. Because good work is good for mental health, and good mental health is good for our workers and their families, our economy, and society.
“But when it comes to action, the government has come nowhere near the scale of ambition we need for improving our mental health in Scotland, especially in the workforce. We need the Scottish Government’s Mental Health Strategy to transform the way we deal with mental hea
lth in this country and we do that by working with them. To tackle poor mental health, to make mental health a priority in every workplace, to ensure no worker is left to suffer in silence.
“Please support this motion.”
Community delegates will also be speaking in debates on the Scottish steel industry and calling for more support for the victims of sexual assault.