Last reviewed 14 October 2020

A recent large poll by a trade union has found that the mental health of two in every three workers has been negatively affected by the coronavirus crisis.

The survey of 13,500 public and private sector workers was conducted by the GMB trade union and said to be the biggest of its kind so far during the pandemic.

The findings of the survey were as follows.

  • Around 66% of respondents said that the outbreak has had a serious negative impact on their mental health.

  • Some 61% of workers said their job is causing them stress or is otherwise impacting on their mental health, with fear of taking the coronavirus home the most frequently cited cause of stress at work (by 36% of respondents), followed by workers’ fear for their own safety (by 30%).

  • Workers in retail, schools, outsourced services, and care are experiencing the highest levels of anxiety, based on the results.

In response the GMB has called for a Mental Health at Work Act specifying the approach and methods expected of all employers in managing mental health in the workplace.

Commenting on the survey, 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 wellbeing 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.”