Two thirds of workers say coronavirus impacts mental health

A poll of 13,500 workers by GMB found that workers are also stressed about bringing the virus into their homes.

Two thirds of workers say coronavirus impacts mental health Getty Images

Two thirds of workers say their mental health has been harmed by the coronavirus pandemic, a survey has found.

In a GMB poll of 13,500 public and private sector workers, 66%t of respondents said that their work during the outbreak has had a serious negative impact on their mental health. 

The survey, released on World Mental Health Day, found that 61% of workers say their job is causing them stress or is otherwise impacting on their mental health. 

Workers also say the fear of bringing coronavirus into their homes is a cause of stress at work, as well as fears for their own safety.

The survey also found that workers in retail, schools, outsourced services, and care report experiencing the highest levels of anxiety. 

GMB is campaigning for a ‘Mental Health at Work Act’, specifying the approach and methods expected of all employers in managing mental health in the workplace.  

If successful, the legislation would require absences due to poor mental health to be reported to the Health and Safety Executive on the same basis as physical injuries. 

Nell Andrew, GMB national equality and inclusion officer, said: “Shockingly, almost one in five adults have experienced some form of depression during the pandemic – almost doubling from before the crisis. 

“These stark results show it’s not just workers’ physical health that’s being impacted by covid – but their mental health and well-being is too. And that’s a massive problem for everyone. 

“Much more needs to be done to prevent poor mental health in the workplace, during the pandemic and beyond. 

“We urgently need full mental health risk assessments to become the norm, because protecting workers’ mental health is just as vital as protecting physical health. 

“As we face a second wave and widespread redundancies, we desperately need to protect at-risk industries and fully fund the public services that defend the mental health and wellbeing of the heroic workers who have to keep the economy and society together.”

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