United minds

Unite supports good mental health with new United Minds campaign

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During Mental Health Awareness Week this week, Unite is encouraging members to get involved with its United Minds campaign.

The theme for Mental Health Awareness Week 2024 is “Movement: Moving more for our mental health”. It’s one that particularly relevant to members, because the intense pressure on workers facing government cuts, social security reforms, the increased cost of living and threats to job security, pay and conditions, taking some proper break time to go for a run, have a kick about or just get in some extra steps is one way to help reduce stress.

Recent years have seen elevated levels of stress, anxiety and depression which invariably has led to mental health problems across multiple workplaces.

Unite reps themselves are facing increasing additional pressures and will benefit from the union’s mental health support programme for reps. They will also require more support in negotiating mental health and stress support programmes in the workplace.

The United Minds campaign website is packed full of resources to help reps and members. As well as a campaign guide, and the Unite Mental Health Guide for Reps and Negotiators, there is a stress at work survey and a model facilities agreement.

Unite national health and safety advisor Rob Miguel said, “With stress and mental health issues at work increasingly having a negative impact on workers, I would encourage all Unite reps to visit the campaign page and get involved in supporting colleagues.”

“The United Minds campaign offers tools and materials to assist reps in negotiating better management processes around mental health and stress issues in the workplace.”

The United Minds campaign wants change, and the government and employers must play their part. The campaign is calling for:

  • New legislation around workplace stress and psychosocial risk – a law that sets out clearly duties to conduct specific risk assessments and the steps taken to control the risks
  • Employers ensure workplace stress risk assessments and consideration of psychosocial hazards are undertaken
  • Bringing about codes of practice to ensure employer assistance and support programmes for mental health are consistent and of high quality
  • Employers must ensure their mental health support programmes are fit for purpose
  • Work related suicides to be reportable to HSE under Riddor.
  • Specific guidance and training for government agencies such as HSE, ORR, local authorities around specific enforcement actions available in this area
  • Establish a tripartite forum that includes unions, employers, and government, specifically to discuss and agree intended laws, codes of practice and guidance in this area.

Rob added, “To help reps call for change, the campaign website also has a large number of downloadable posters for union notice boards in a variety of different workplaces. So we are asking all reps to join the call for action with United Minds.”

To find out more, access the resources and download the posters go to the United Minds campaign website.

By Keith Hatch