UNISON report claims mental health staff are working under increasing stress


More than eight in 10 mental health staff say their workload has increased while more than seven in 10 say they have experienced cuts according to a new report.

The study, carried out by by public services union UNISON, has been described as a “warning” that mental health services staff are under pressure.




The trade union has been doing survey work across members who work in Mental Health and 84% reported that they had increases in their workload in the last three years.

Meanwhile 76% of staff report cutbacks in their workplaces in the last three years meaning staff spend less time with each patient.

Dave Watson, UNISON Scotland head of bargaining and campaigns, said “This report should serve as a warning.

“Mental health services remain the invisible part of the NHS. Yet one in four of us will experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year.

“Wherever and whoever we asked, whether it was a Psychiatric Nurse on a hospital ward, or a Mental Health Officer working for a council – they told the same story of workload increasing but resources being cut and time with each patient going down.

“Staff are stressed because they don’t feel that they are giving patients the service that they deserve or doing the work they are capable of.”

Quotes from mental health staff include:

“(We) are subjected to regular staff shortages and high stress.” – Community Psychiatric Nurse

“I was off work related stress for three months last year due to trying to do three people’s jobs to statutory deadlines and not succeeding.” – Mental Health Officer

“Increased stress levels as just don’t have enough time to meet all deadlines. Also spending more and more time on non patient related activities.” – Deputy Charge Nurse

“There is an increase in the paperwork for statistical purposes.” – Registered Mental Nurse

“Higher caseloads with fewer staff leads to higher stress and people being incompletely treated reducing job satisfaction and increasing frustration.” – Occupational Therapist