Mental Health and the Workplace - Congress Disability Seminar

19 Feb 2019


Chairs of Congress Disability Committees Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland, Paul Cobain (NIPSA) and Claire Mahon (INMO) welcomed people to the annual seminar. 

This was followed by a civic welcome from the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Deirdre Hargey

Owen Reidy, Assistant General Secretary, then officially opened the seminar

The first session focussed on Supporting Mental Health in the Workplace – Successes and challenges:

  • Paul Oakes ECNI spoke about their Mental Health Charter for workplaces
  • Damian Mahon, Department of Work and Pensions

Pat Kenny, CWU and Congress Health and Safety Committee and Joe McCusker, UNISON presented on what trade unions are doing:

Pats presentation;

Joe's presentation.

Mental Health and the Workplace – a personal reflection

Barbara Martin, ICTU Tutor, received a standing ovation for her very personal account of mental health issues. 

Day two - Friday 15 February

Welfare reform in Northern Ireland, Kevin Higgins, Advice NI

  1. VOICES project

Cliona de Bhailis - Collectively Exploring Self-determination project aimed to change the law in relation to the right to legal capacity for people with disabilities 

  1. Independent Living Movement Ireland (ILMI) – Personal Assistants campaign

Damian Walshe and Shelley Gaynor 

  1. Aware - supporting mental health in the workplace - Pat Lynch


Delegates reflected on the event and left determined to make the issue of mental health and the workplace a key one in their trade union bargaining agenda. 

Interesting links:

EUROFOUND has also just published a report on the Social and employment situation of people with disabilities.  In relation to mental health, it states that mental well-being remains a concern for people with disabilities. 46% of people with disabilities are at risk of depression, compared to 16% of their non-disabled counterparts. 

Patricia Murray from the Health and Safety Authority on minding your mental health at work

Pics from event available here