Minds at Work reveals that Britain’s rapidly changing labour market is creating new risks for mental health. The report finds a steep increase in the number of self-employed workers with a mental illness. Over five years the number has almost doubled, from 105,000 in 2012 to 203,000 in 2017. This comes at a time when 1 in 3 British workers will experience a mental health illness each year.
The report is published by the Changing Work Centre, a joint research initiative from Community union and the Fabian Society. It brings together leading figures from the charity sector, academia and politics including Luciana Berger MP (president, Labour Campaign for Mental Health), Barbara Keeley MP (shadow minister for mental health and social care), Roy Rickhuss (general secretary, Community trade union), Paul Farmer, (chief executive, Mind), and a foreword by Alistair Campbell to address Britain’s growing workplace mental health crisis.
The report calls for an urgent rethink of attitudes towards mental health as the world of work continues to transform. Key recommendations include:
- Reforming statutory sick pay to make it more flexible, more generous and available to workers from day one of their employment.
- Creating a new collective insurance scheme to help protect the incomes of self-employed workers if they need to take time off work.
- Alternative management approaches which focus on the value and potential of each individual, rather than the cost of their mental illness.
- Training managers in equality law and their responsibilities to employees as well as ‘soft’ management skills.