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About this resource

Mental health and the workplace is an increasingly important issue for trade unions. This second edition of Mental Health and the Workplace has been updated to keep pace with the changing world of work. The workbook is for all workplace reps and helps to explain what they can do to support those in the workplace with mental health problems.

This workbook is intended to be used actively – in courses, at branch meetings and in informal discussions. As well as being an information resource, it seeks to ask questions to stimulate discussion and debate so that individuals and groups can act on their commitment to challenge mental health discrimination and promote equality wherever they work and in their communities.

Download Mental health and the workplace workbook (PDF)


Unions have a long history of campaigning for change in the workplace and beyond, not only on employment rights or safety issues but also on the way people are viewed in the workplace and in society. There is much stigma and discrimination around mental health and particularly mental ill health. These are issues of justice, equality and fairness – core trade union business. With the impact of austerity contributing to ever-increasing levels of workplace stress, there has been an increase in the prevalence of mental ill health.

In response, unions have often taken the lead both in securing the best outcomes for individual members with mental health issues, and in working with employers to develop ‘mentally healthy’ workplaces.

TUC Education is grateful to all those who have shared their stories. I urge you to make full use of this publication and to let us know what you think – comments, stories and feedback of all kinds are welcome to Jackie Williams at

How to use this workbook

This workbook will help reps to:

  • help prevent stress-related mental illness
  • develop an understanding of mental health and common mental health problems
  • be aware of diversity issues impacting on members with mental health problems
  • develop an understanding of the law and mental health in the workplace
  • identify good practice around workplace policies on mental health
  • explore the role of union reps in supporting and representing members with mental health problems
  • identify organising and campaigning opportunities for trade unions around mental health.
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