Blog: Standing up for working people includes standing up for mental health

All too often, mental health does not receive the attention or the support, that other health problems do. Our union has a proud history of fighting for greater funding for mental health support, but just as importantly, for greater recognition of mental health in the workplace.

Today – 1 February – is a day to put that right. Today is “Time to Talk” Day, which aims to start conversations about mental health, and encourage us all to be more open – talking, listening and changing lives.

Since Time to Talk was launched three years ago, UNISON has been a keen supporter. In Redditch and Bromsgrove we’ve held dozens of mental health events – including activities like hand massages, guerilla keep fit sessions, health trainers doing health MOTs and tai chi classes.

At the same time, we’ve also seen other UNISON branches making real strides in this vital area. Halton local government and Lothian health branches have been amongst those working hard to tackle mental health stigma and improve mental wellbeing in the workplace and at home.

And in our Wales region, innovations like the creation of a Mental Health Champions role in 2016 and an annual Mental Health Day have shown the practical, positive ways that UNISON can change the conversation on mental health – and change lives in the process.

This is something which our union can and will do more of in the years ahead – always finding new ways to further support our members. And as pressure mounts across the public sector – with most forced to do more with less – it’s even more important that we care for each other.

Standing up for working people includes standing up for mental health. We’re proud of the steps that UNISON has taken already on this vital issue, and of the steps we will take in future.

Dave Prentis, general secretary, UNISON
Laney Walsh, branch secretary, Redditch and Bromsgrove UNISON