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Scottish TUC Congress ’19 Mental health epidemic ‘is a crisis of capitalism,’ delegates hear

MENTAL HEALTH should be at the top of the employment rights agenda, Scottish TUC conference delegates said today as the issue was described as “a crisis of capitalism.”

Kat Lord from teachers’ union NASUWT linked the wellbeing of pupils to that of their teachers in proposing a motion which called for the STUC to recognise and address specific health and wellbeing issues in schools.

She said: “Our education system is broken and the teachers responsible for delivering it are themselves starting to break.”

The Musicians’ Union called for better mental health support within the creative industries.

Delegate Mike Macdermid pointed to a recent survey which found that 67 per cent of those questioned had suffered from depression or other psychological issues.

Kate McCall, of performers’ union Equity, shared a moving personal account of how suicide in the creative industries had affected her. 

The impact of austerity on mental health was also addressed directly in a motion brought by Unite.

This proposed shorter working hours and the eradication of zero-hours contracts among measures to target underlying causes of poor mental health.

These included poverty, austerity and workplace stress, the union said. 

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) highlighted the disproportionate levels of stress found among public-service workers following cuts. 

FBU Scotland treasurer Seona Hart called for Scottish government investment in mental-health support and services.

Closing the debate Dundee Trades Union Council member Raymond Mennie praised the extensive discussion of mental-health issues at congress in comparison to previous years.

“It is not a mental-health epidemic, it is a crisis of capitalism,” he said.

“The coping strategy is a strong trade union movement.”

 

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