A campaign for immediate action to improve funding for mental health will be launched at this year’s TUC conference to ensure that the ‘needs are met of the most vulnerable in our society’.
A conference motion from the Society and UNISON will condemn the lack of trained staff or funding for mental health in the NHS.
Gareth Thomas, the Society’s immediate past president, who will be speaking during the debate, said that “Patients who cannot afford to pay for private healthcare are waiting for essential help in their time of greatest need.
“The mental health crisis can only be properly addressed by adopting an holistic approach which must involve not just the NHS, but also social care, education, youth work, housing and policing,” he continued.
“NHS funding for mental health has gone down by 8 per cent in real terms since 2010 and the number of people seeking help each year has jumped by 500,000 since then to 1.7 million.”
The motion will ask for government and employers to act to strengthen employment rights for mental health patients.
“We must have improvements in how employers are tackling the causes of work-related stress, which can cause or exacerbate mental ill health," Gareth said.
“The rise in insecure work, the fall in real wages and the frequent removal of sick pay provisions are all factors which have contributed significantly to the mental health crisis.”
The Society and UNISON are calling for a united trade union response to mental health issues both in the community and in the workplace, compelling employers to take responsibility for the mental health and wellbeing of their employees.
They also want a conference on mental health in the workplace to bring together unions and organisations specialising in mental health issues and to set up a cross-union working group to share best practice and co-ordinate campaigning work.