A well-attended lunchtime meeting held at the union’s annual conference in Bournemouth yesterday (25th April) heard contributions from three of the CWU’s national officers on the crucially important subject of mental health at work.
Simon Sapper, Linda Roy and Dave Joyce, representing the union’s youth, equal opportunities and health and safety departments respectively, joined forces to highlight this growing problem.
“Mental health among young people is skyrocketing,” said Simon, adding that a combination of joblessness, job insecurity, lack of access to social housing, and declining hopes for the future were contributing to an enormous increase in depression among younger age groups in particular.
After referencing the well-known phrase that the test of good government is how it treats the young, the old and the vulnerable, Simon told the audience: “This Government fails the moral test – because this Government has no morals.”
Dave Joyce said that stress anxiety was a growing problem and that the union’s health and safety department was working hard to raise awareness of this among employers.
Guest speaker Sarah Restall, from campaigning charity Time to Change, gave a presentation on the issue and revealed some shocking statistics that starkly illustrated the extent of the problem.
“One in four of us will experience a mental health problem in any given year, and it’s predicted that, by 2020, half of people who are ill will be ill from a mental health problem,” she explained.
One in six workers is dealing with anxiety issues at any one time, Sarah continued, and added that suicide was a major cause of death among the 18 to 24 age group.
She went on to outline some of the work that Time to Change is carrying out among employers and unions to try to ensure that the stigma is removed from mental health in the workplace, particularly noting the joint pledge that has been agreed with Royal Mail, the CWU and her organisation.
You can go to the Time to change website here
You can also read the Facebook plea from a sufferer of anxiety facing stigma here
Source: CWU HQ website