UNISON learning for mental health

Over a year after the coronavirus pandemic hit the UK, we are all aware of the impact that the disease, and the measures introduced to deal with it, have had on our mental health. Regardless of whether our own personal experience has been one of stress, uncertainty, grief, isolation, or even boredom, few of us will have been surprised by reports of increased mental ill health.

You may be looking to understand your own mental health better, or to support family members or friends. You may wish to develop a greater awareness of mental health issues as part of your continuing professional development. Or you may be a UNISON activist wanting to know how you can help members in your workplace and branch.

Whatever your prime concern, there is a multitude of learning resources available from UNISON Learning and from our partners.

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Taking care of yourself, friends, and family

Books On Prescription

The Reading Agency has produced a list of ‘books on prescription’. These are a selection of accessible science and self-help books that have been recommended to help people cope with various difficult life situations.

Books On Prescription: mental health

Staying Strong: Stress Awareness

Our Staying Strong online course is based on our very popular stress awareness workshop. It explores some of the different forms of stress and the way that it can affect you, and introduces some techniques to help you deal with stress. You can work through it at your own pace and return to it whenever you like. You’ll find it on our e-learning site – use your My.UNISON account to log in.

Mental Health and Wellbeing workshops

UNISON’s regional education teams organise learning events all over the UK, responding to the particular needs in their area.

Over the last year, regional education teams have arranged workshops on topics including: mindfulness; coping with stress; managing mental health at work; and many more.

Find your regional education team

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Mental health and continuing professional development

Many UNISON members’ work involves supporting other people directly. Whether that’s in the context of a school, a care home, a hospital, or any other environment, it’s likely that some of the people they work to support will experience mental health difficulties.

The Open University: Mental Health Awareness

We work with The Open University to offer mental health awareness workshops, which aim to help you: develop a greater awareness of mental health; understand the main mental health problems that people face; gain an insight into the experience of having mental distress; explore some strategies for promoting good mental health; and take a revised awareness to the workplace.

We run a limited number of workshops nationally, and UNISON regions also organise these workshops on an ad hoc basis. Contact your regional education team to find out if any are running near you.

Visit UNISON Learning’s national events page

Find your regional education team

Skills Academy

Our partnership with the Skills Academy means that we’re able to offer access to over 600 free online courses to UNISON members. These include:

  • Mental Health Awareness
  • Mental Wellbeing in Children and Young People
  • Depression Awareness
  • Stress Management

Find out more and request an account

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Mental health learning for UNISON activists

Mental Health At Work

Our main mental health awareness course for UNISON activists is called Mental Health At Work. This can be run over one day or two and aims to:

  • Examine what we mean by ‘mental health’
  • Look at what employers can do to maintain mental health at work
  • Identify some of the common signs and symptoms of poor mental health in the workplace
  • Discuss and explore strategies for intervention and support for members experiencing mental ill health
  • Understand what causes stress for us in our union roles
  • Review strategies for coping with stress

Contact your regional education team to find out when it will next be running near you.

Find your regional education team

Mental Health resources for UNISON activists

UNISON also has a wealth of resources to help you work with the employer to support members. Download some of the most popular ones using the links below:

Mental Health Matters: guidance for branches

Bargaining On Mental Health Matters: a practical guide for UNISON branches

Stress At Work: a guide for UNISON safety reps

There For You: a guide to UNISON welfare services

TUC webinars

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the TUC has been hosting a series of webinars for union activists and members. Some that deal with mental health include:

Protecting and promoting mental health during the pandemic

Ways to manage stress in the current climate

Mental health challenges beyond COVID-19

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