Report 48: Mental health, employment and the social care workforce

The social care workplace and mental health

‘Employers in all sectors, including the public sector, can play an important role in supporting the health and wellbeing of their staff by providing healthy workplaces which support their employees’ mental health and wellbeing’ (51).

Social care is a major source of employment in England. The adult and children’s social care workforce consists of almost two million, mainly female, employees (3), (4) (63). Data suggests that 17 per cent of the independent sector social care workforce in England is black and minority ethnic and around 13 per cent of social care workers have a non-European Economic Area nationality.

Several studies have looked at issues of workplace stress in the social care workforce, finding high risk of mental health problems due to factors including abuse and violence at work, staff experiences of racism, discrimination and gender issues, and demanding roles. However, evidence shows the majority enjoy working on social care, and find their jobs fulfilling.

There have been efforts to bring more people into specific peer support roles and there are good reasons for actively trying to include more people with lived experience of mental distress as well as improving mental health support for the existing workforce.


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