GMB young members demand radical action over mental health
GMB young members are demanding radical action from the government and employers after a shock study revealed one in three young workers experience mental health conditions.
The union is urging the government to introduce new primary legislation – a ‘Mental Health at Work Act’ – to force employers to properly address workplace mental health problems.
The call comes as a shocking new report reveals 60% of employees have experienced mental problems in the past year due to work.
Ruth Pitchford, Chair of GMB Young Members, said: “Times are getting harder for everyone, and the world is getting more uncertain. Young people like me are entering the world of work facing a reality of low pay, insecure work, student debt and no prospect of owning their own property, let alone living in social housing.
“It is no wonder that mental health issues are on the increase, yet the government has done nothing to tackle these issues at all. Mental health services are hopelessly oversubscribed, especially for young people, and employers are unable or unwilling to bridge the gap.
“We need a Mental Health at Work Act so that all employers know their responsibilities; housing policy that provides affordable housing for the many; and employment rights and wages that guarantee good work for all. We need concrete action and we need it now.”
The Mental Health at Work Report 2018: Seizing the Opportunity, published by Business in the Community, highlighted that the workplace is not only unsupportive of employees with mental health problems, but that work is often a key contributing factor to poor mental health.
This is particularly true for young workers, who are most likely to experience poor mental health at work.
The report, based on surveying work carried out by YouGov, found that:
- 61% of employees have experienced mental health issues due to work or where work was a related factor
- 37% of 18-29 year olds have been diagnosed with a mental health issue, higher than any other age group
- 64% of managers have had to put the interests of their organisation above staff welfare at some point
- 11% of respondents who disclosed a mental health issue subsequently faced disciplinary action, demotion or dismissal – even though their mental health condition may be covered by the Equality Act 2010.
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