LGBT Mental Health Workplace Initiatives

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2019 Water, Environment & Transport Conference
25 February 2019
Carried as Amended

Conference notes that there have been some staff wellbeing initiatives by employers in the Water, Environment and Transport service group related to mental health support, these are not consistent and there is still further to go for employee wellbeing.

Conference recognises that at least one in four of us will experience mental health problems at some time in our lives. We believe that awareness needs to continue to be raised amongst WET employers about mental issues in the workplace, and recognises that this must be inclusive of mental health issues relating to LGBT (explain) staff.

Reports by Stonewall and Scottish Trans Alliance highlight that LGBT people are more likely to have mental health issues with 3% to 5% lesbian, gay and bisexual people attempting to take their own life. This increases to 16% for young lesbian and bisexual women and to 5% for Black gay and bisexual men. 84% of trans people had thought about ending their lives at some point, 35% overall had attempted suicide at least once and 25% had attempted suicide more than once.

Conference welcomes the UNISON branch guidance “Bargaining on mental health policies”, which includes steps WET branches can take to raise mental health issues with their employers. The Guidance recommends that branches seek to work with employers to review the organisations policies to promote mental well being and to support staff with mental health problems.

We call upon the Water, Environment and Transport service group executive to:

1) Continue to promote the bargaining guidance to WET branches;

2) Urge WET branches to revisit wellbeing, sickness, harassment and equalities policies and make sure that they inclusive and up to date;

3) Continue to campaign for better support for the mental health of staff and to consider using events such as world mental health day as a focus for raising mental health awareness within the service group and promoting good practice;

4) Promote the training of stewards and health and safety reps in WET branches on mental health awareness;

5) Encourage WET branches to urge their employers to provide training on workplace mental health issues and to ensure that this is inclusive of the equality dimensions.