Britain is facing a crisis. Over three-quarters of young workers have experienced mental health challenges, with nearly half having experienced suicidal thoughts.
This crisis has only been exacerbated by the pandemic, with young people more likely to have lost their jobs or been furloughed. This has led many to be uncertain of their future, and unsure of what comes next.
This creates a vicious circle – those with mental health issues find it harder to earn money, harder to manage money and spending and harder to ask for help. This then leads to financial difficulties, which then leads stress and anxiety. This then causes further mental health problems, and the circle starts again.
It is 2021, and this is simply not good enough. We know that where mental health is prioritised in the workplace, and where young workers are put front and centre of the workplace, they are 37% less likely to suffer from mental ill-health.
Yet this is sadly a rarity in workplaces in the UK, where only 13% of line managers have received training to support those with mental ill-health within the workplace.
It is so important to stress just how important it is to recognise mental health and mental wellbeing. Every young worker across the UK has mental health, whether good or bad. Every person reading this will have mental health.
It is vital in our workforce that we recognise this – that we realise how important it is to make mental health a priority. We need everyone to understand that when mental health is made a priority, it makes a workforce stronger, it makes a workforce healthier.
It makes a workforce ready to face the challenges placed before us by eleven years of Conservative cuts to young workers.
In the UK, we are still seeing those who are brave enough to come forward about issues surrounding their mental health disciplined, dismissed, and demoted. This is not good enough and must be stopped.
It is our duty, both legal and moral, to support these people and come together to protect those suffering from mental ill-health.
We must champion mental health as a core value and a core driver in everything we do. We must ensure that everybody is able to access reasonable adjustments to support their mental health, and don’t face negative consequences for coming forward.
In a world where young workers are facing furlough, anxiety of what is coming next, where young workers are scapegoated and ignored, where their skillsets are overlooked, we must stand with every young worker and take every opportunity possible to champion such important issues.