Jeremy Corbyn warns 'perfect storm' of economic pressures facing workers fuelling 'mental health epidemic'

Labour leader says that job insecurity, the housing crisis, rising debt and failing living standards are leading to escalating levels of anxiety and stress in Britain

Ashley Cowburn
Political Correspondent
Saturday 19 May 2018 16:34
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Jeremy Corbyn warns 'perfect storm' of economic pressures facing workers fuelling 'mental health epidemic'

A “perfect storm” of economic pressures facing British workers is fuelling a mental health “epidemic”, Jeremy Corbyn has warned.

In a speech to mark mental health awareness week, the Labour leader said that job insecurity, the housing crisis, rising debt and failing living standards are leading to escalating levels of anxiety and stress in Britain.

While affecting all ages, Mr Corbyn said that is “stifling young people trying to start out in life in particular”, pointing to research that a xthird of 18 to 24-year-olds have experiences stresses due to concerns about housing.

According to the Trade Union Congress mental ill health is the top reason for workplace sickness absence, with 70 million working days lost each year at a cost of £2.4bn to employers.

The remarks from Mr Corbyn at Labour’s state of the economy conference in central London came as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle exchanged vows at their wedding in Windsor.

He paid tribute to to Prince Harry, Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge for their “commendable and inspiring” campaigning on mental health issues.

“Poor mental health costs the economy an estimated £99bn a year. But what’s even more important than mental health being bad for the economy is that our current economy is so clearly bad for our mental health,” Mr Corbyn told an audience at Imperial College London.

“A perfect storm of economic pressures is feeding this crisis. Too many workers endure stress in toxic work environments or face job insecurity, with many more lying awake at night worried about debts, rent or mortgage payments, not knowing how they will make ends meet at the end of the month.”

The Labour leader added the clear link between “uncontrolled” market forces and mental health problems acts as evidence why “we must take power from the market and give that power directly to people themselves”.

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