During Mental Health Awareness Week we are calling on branches to place a focus on stress and mental health at work.

The extent of stress and mental health at work is the top concern raised by Health and Safety reps and particularly so as a result of the Government’s sustained attacks on public services, jobs, pay and pensions.  We therefore need to ensure this issue is firmly placed on the bargaining agenda to ensure employers take their responsibility to tackle work-related stress and mental health seriously.

There is much stigma and discrimination around mental health and particularly mental ill health.  We are asking branches to use this week as an opportunity to:

  • Raise awareness of mental health issues and mental health wellbeing;

  • Tackle and challenge stigma about mental health;

  • Provide advice and guidance, including signposting members to local mental health support services;

  • Negotiate appropriate workplace policies and procedures;

  • Monitor and review workplace actions on mental health issues.

NIPSA has produced a Guide ‘The Perfect Storm – Stress at Work’ which provides practical tools for branch representatives to ensure proper policies and support mechanisms are put in place to protect the health, safety and welfare of our members.

The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland has also produced a Mental Health Charter for employers and service providers.  The Charter, jointly produced by the Equality Commission, Action Mental Health, Disability Action, Mindwise, Mental Health Foundation and Niamh, provides a framework towards mentally healthy workplaces. Click here to view the Charter.