Lowest paid workers at greater risk of suicide

Mental health in workplace web

The Mental Health Foundation Scotland wants more done to support those struggling with mental health

31st August 2017 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

The lowest paid workers are at a greater risk of suicide, a mental health charity has claimed.

Research by the Mental Health Foundation Scotland has shown a link between low wages, lack of job security and mental health issues.

The Poverty and Mental Health report shows that poverty and work stress can result in poor health, and that employers need to do more to help those with mental health problems.

The foundation’s Lee Knifton said: “The vast majority of people with mental health conditions are in employment.

“But it’s rewarding and suitable work, rather than just any job, that fosters good mental health – work that provides a living wage, security and integrated health and work support.

“Research shows that the lowest-paid workers, who typically don’t have much job security or control over their work patterns, are at greater risk of suicide.

“Zero-hours contracts, for example, have created exploitative environments that keep people in low-paid work because they’re desperate to keep a roof over their head.”

The charity has called for a shift in work places, with employers needing to treat mental health problems in the same way they treat other illnesses.

“We need employers who show the same concern for mental ill health as they do for physical ill health,” Knifton added.

“Understanding the fluctuating nature of mental health problems and offering reasonable adjustments to work patterns can help people stay in work and out of poverty.”

The charity received living-wage accreditation this week, and were congratulated by economy secretary Keith Brown.

“The impact of poverty as the biggest driver of poor mental health is well documented,” he said.

“The living wage aims to address the issue of in-work poverty and has been shown to have a positive impact on the wellbeing of staff whilst boosting productivity.”