On World Mental Health Day, UNI Youth is launching a campaign to help unions combat the growing mental health crisis around the world. As the Covid-19 pandemic rages on, workers from India to Brazil to France to the United States are increasingly suffering from mental health issues such as stress, burnout, anxiety, substance abuse, and depression.
Through collective bargaining, unions can ensure that there are proper frameworks and policies in place to provide mental health assistance, and as part of its UNI Yeah! campaign, the youth arm of UNI Global Union is supporting unions who are making mental health a priority.
To do this, it is launching a mental health social media kit including posters, infographics, stickers, and GIFs to aid UNI affiliates around the world who are fighting to ensure their members’ mental health is protected.
The impact of Covid-19 on young workers’ mental health has been particularly debilitating. Facing rampant job losses, uncertainty and precarity, a global youth survey carried out by ILO showed that 1-in-2 young people aged 18-to-29 are possibly subject to anxiety or depression. A further 17 percent are likely affected by it because of widespread closures in education and work.
All around the world, young workers have lost their jobs or had their working hours cut and the future seems ever more insecure.
For young women, the situation has been further exacerbated by a disproportionate increase in domestic responsibilities and a rise in domestic violence during lockdown. A recent survey carried out by UNI Equal Opportunities showed that 10 percent of workers had seen their household work increase by 100 percent, and for those with children, 44 percent of survey respondents had to make time to help them with their studies.
According to the World Health Organization, Mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual can realize his or her own abilities, cope with the normal stresses of life, work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community. It’s an integral part of health, and an increasingly integral union issue.
And as millions of people continue to work from home, the rise of mental health problems will continue. Teleworking, longer working hours, and no right to disconnect are combining to create unhealthy work habits and additional problems for workers.
UNI Youth is fighting to ensure that young workers have the strong trade unions they need to combat mental health issues in the workplace.