Three in four care staff say Covid had serious impact on mental health
Three in four staff working in care homes and home care say the Covid pandemic has had a serious negative impact on their mental health, according to the GMB union.
A survey of more than 1,200 care workers conducted between December and January found mental health declined throughout the second wave, with poorer mental health recorded in December/January than at the start of the second wave in September/October.
Some groups of care workers were more likely to report poor mental health: women, disabled, residential, and care workers who were only entitled to statutory sick pay all reported lower mental health scores.
The poll also found anxiety levels are 44 per cent than all employees in the wider economy.
GMB said that low pay, insecure working, and inadequate sick pay were all contributing factors to poor mental health in the sector.
The average care worker in England is paid £8.80 an hour and a third of care workers are employed on a zero hours contract, according to figures reported by employers.
“Care workers have been asked to make incredible sacrifices during the pandemic, and these sobering figures demonstrate the urgent need for better support,” said GMB national officer for care Rachel Harrison.
“As a minimum, this must include dedicated national mental health services, a substantial increase in pay, and full sick pay cover so that care workers can afford to self-isolate when they are ill – no-one should be asked to live on £96.35 a week,” she added.