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'Crisis of trust': STUC report on worker mental health and employer responses during Covid-19

17 November 2020

Covid-19 has significantly affected employee mental health and caused an 'alarming lack of trust' in employers' ability to safeguard workers, according to a new report released by the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) at the start of its annual conference.

The STUC survey of over a thousand workers exploring the mental health and equality impacts of the COVID-19, found that the crisis has exacerbated a 'pre-existing lack of trust in employers' when it comes to disclosing mental health conditions.  Linked to this is the lack of a positive response from employers when mental health conditions are disclosed.

Up to 67% of people surveyed who have disclosed they have a mental health issue or illness have also been offered no form of reasonable adjustment for their mental health, the report found. Up to 80% of Disabled Workers are also worried at the impacts that next 6 months will have on their mental health.

STUC General Secretary Roz Foyer said: 'Despite the fact that poor mental health has become more honestly and openly discussed as a public issue, it appears that many workplaces have a long way to go in enabling people to be confident in disclosing mental health conditions or supporting those who do.

'Employers should take heed of this.  A crisis of trust between workers and managers could result in long term damaging impacts to a workplace and its workers. Employers need to understand that workers’ mental health is as important as their physical health and must be treated as such.'

While some workers’ mental health had been significantly affected throughout COVID-19, those whose mental health improved said this was due to 'feeling more in control and being away from work', the survey found.