Mental health support: Not rocket science, it’s medical science

John Nisbet
John Nisbet

#stuc16 The STUC has condemned the ‘climate of fear’ in workplaces, which discourages workers from disclosing mental health issues or seeking reasonable adjustments at work.

“We need better provision to tackle mental health problems in the workplace”, said John Nisbet, secretary of UNISON Scotland’s Disabled Members’ Committee, backing the STUC Disabled Members’ Conference motion.

He called for a closer working relationship with the “excellent See Me campaign” to be a part of the STUC’s future work on the issue, developing focussed materials aimed at challenging stigma and prejudice.

Last year in Scotland, one in 12 of the population in Scotland were prescribed antidepressants.

John said: “This isn’t an issue about individuals with a health problem – It’s an epidemic. And as with other epidemics – this one needs a collective response.

“It’s not rocket science – it’s medical science. If adjustments are made, people will be able to stay at work. Sometimes this in itself can be part of a process of recovery.”

John welcomed steps by the government to tackle attitudes to mental health but urged delegates to “dig behind the figures.”

“For example two years ago there was a 100% increase in clinical nurse specialists in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, CBT. Which sounds great but, it’s a wee bit less impressive when you realise that actual number employed went from four to eight.”

Congress backed calls for concerted action to defend the rights of disabled workers suffering mental health conditions to reasonable adjustments in the workplace, and to develop examples of best practice from affiliated trade unions.

It will lobby the Scottish Government to develop a specific strategy to secure equality for disabled workers and, in particular, to support workers with mental health conditions; and will work with See Me and support its campaign to raise awareness and remove stigma associated with mental health conditions.

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