Around one in four of us experiences challenges with our mental health in any given year. Work can be one of the most important factors on your mental health so workplace union reps have a vital role to play in raising awareness of mental health and supporting members with mental health problems.
Mental health in the workplace

Work is one of the important domains of human life and more than a source of income. It is a community which offers a way for people to contribute, reach their full potential and develop and maintain valuable social networks.

For people with mental health challenges, work can provide crucial links to a wider community, as well as being an important part of maintaining mental health wellbeing or as part of recovery. 

Work can be one of the most important factors for mental health, and positive promotion of mental health can help to increase satisfaction, efficiency and productivity at work as well as contributing to personal and professional development.

Conversely, work related stress, bullying and poor consideration for workers mental health negatively impact the entire workforce and can cause absenteeism, high staff turnover, a culture of presenteeism and loss of productivity amongst workers.

Work can be good for our mental health, but only when it’s good work. This means decent pay, an ability to make changes, favourable terms and conditions and proper adherence to health and safety legislation. As well as respect, consideration of duty of care and fair and equal treatment.

Why Mental Health is a trade union issue

Mental health is an important part of our work as trade unionists. It is crucial to how we understand and interpret health and safety, conduct at work, performance and development, workplace relationships, equality issues, ill health, learning and training, union workplace democracy and many others.

Workplace union reps have a vital role to play in raising awareness on mental health as a workplace issue, as well as supporting members with mental health problems in the workplace and signposting members to further sources of support and guidance.

New Mental Health and the Workplace toolkit

Our new Mental Health and the Workplace toolkit is aimed at union reps and workers. It will provide better information, awareness and representation for workers experiencing mental health issues.

The toolkit will provide information to help union officers and reps in Wales to represent members affected by mental health. It aims to help reps in recognising and addressing workplace issues that can worsen people’s mental health and provides tools and ideas to help union reps campaign on the health and safety and equality issues surrounding mental health in the workplace. This toolkit also acts as a resource providing activities that can be run with colleagues to educate them and others.

Watch our online toolkit launch event with contributions from Minister for Mental Health, Well-being and Welsh Language Eluned Morgan as well as trade union reps and officers. 

Case study: getting mental health support at work

Natalia struggled with mental health issues from her teenage years. When she started work at RF Brookes she found support through her union and her employer which she says has changed her life. Watch Natalia’s story, and hear how RF Brookes’ HR team adapted to introduce vital mental health support.

We are extremely grateful to workers at RF Brookes for speaking openly about their mental health.

Mental Health resources

Please see the links and organisations below for assistance with mental health issues.

Mind Cymru

We're Mind Cymru, the mental health charity
We're an unstoppable community of people in Wales who won't give up until everyone experiencing a mental health problem gets the support and respect they deserve. Together with our 20 local Minds in Wales we're committed to improving mental health in this country. Together we're Mind in Wales.

Mental Health Matters Wales

One of the leading Mental Health Charities in Wales.  We are an independent, non-profit and non-political charity which works with people who have a mental health related issue, other voluntary organisations and statutory services to promote mental well-being. We aim to ensure there is a comprehensive range of mental health services throughout Wales.

Our objective is to support people to make long-lasting changes in the areas of their lives that are currently not working for them. We aim to provide the best support to people affected by mental health, their families and carers.

Hafal

Hafal is a Member-led Charity supporting people with mental health problems – with a special emphasis on those with a serious mental illness – and their carers and families. We also support others with a range of disabilities and their carers and families.

Covering all areas of Wales, our services are underpinned by a unique Recovery Programme. Based on modern principles of self-management and empowerment, it offers a methodical way of achieving recovery by focusing on all areas of life.

Platform

We work with people who are experiencing challenges with their mental health, and with communities who want to create a greater sense of connection, ownership and wellbeing in the places that they live.

Diverse Cymru

A number of reports have highlighted that although there is an over-representation of BME adults within the mental health services there is also an under-representation of BME young people accessing mental health services. Furthermore, BME people are less likely to be referred by a GP for support despite this leading to higher percentages than average later being admitted to hospital with chronic mental health problems.

As part of Diverse Cymru’s mission, we are striving to make positive differences in these statistics. We are using our position to raise awareness both within Wales’ BME communities and among health care professionals of the additional issues and barriers that face BME people around accessing mental health services.

We want people to feel confident and comfortable when accessing services, and for health care practitioners to feel more knowledgeable when facing the complexities of the issues that some BME people face in seeking help.

Live fear free

Providing help and advice about violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence

Welsh Women’s Aid

Welsh Women’s Aid is the national charity in Wales working to end domestic abuse and all forms of violence against women. We are a federation of specialist organisations in Wales (working as part of a UK network of services) that provide lifesaving services to survivors of violence and abuse – women, men, children, families – and deliver a range of innovative preventative services in local communities.

We have been at the forefront of shaping coordinated community responses and practice in Wales since we were established in 1978. We do this by campaigning for change and providing advice, consultancy, support and training to deliver policy and service improvements for survivors, families and communities.

Meddwl

Gall byw gyda salwch neu gyflwr iechyd meddwl fod yn brofiad unig a heriol. Mae’r wefan hon yn lle i gael cefnogaeth, dysgu am anhwylderau iechyd meddwl gwahanol, darllen am brofiadau eraill a chael gwybodaeth am ble i gael cymorth – i gyd drwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg.

Samaritans

Telephone: 08457 90 90 90 (24 hours a day)

Email jo@samaritans.org

Provides confidential, non-judgmental emotional support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those that could lead to suicide. You can phone, email, write a letter or in most cases talk to someone face to face.

CALL (Community Advice and Listening Line)

Telephone 0800 132 737

Offers emotional support and information/literature on Mental Health and related matters to the people of Wales. Anyone concerned about their own mental health or that of a relative or friend can access the service. C.A.L.L. Helpline offers a confidential listening and support service.

NHS Direct Wales

Telephone 0845 4647

Health advice 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Meic Cymru

Telephone: 0808 80 23456 (8am – midnight, seven days a week)

Text: 84001

Meic is a confidential, free helpline service for children and young people up to the age of 25 in Wales. You can call, text or instant message them in Welsh or English for support, advice and information.

Saneline

Telephone 0845 767 8000 (6pm-11pm)

Saneline is a national mental health helpline providing information and support to people with mental health problems and those who support them. If you're a carer needing support you can contact all of the above as well as Carers Direct and the Princess Royal Trust for Carers, both of whom are able to provide support and advice on any issues affecting you.

Childline

Telephone: 0800 1111

Childline is a free, confidential service available to anyone under 19 in the UK. Whether it's something big or small, their trained counsellors are there to support you any time, day or night.