Put the sudoku down and do some proper reading. Asylum is probably the best radical read about mental health in town and Surviving Work is delighted to wake the hell up from its summer haze and get cracking on the politics of mental health at work.
“In a recessionary context, suggesting that dealing with mental health requires sorting out your politics might look like avoidance or an ideological pedantry on a par with punching kittens. I like animals but surviving the current regime of employment relations and public policy involves keeping our political wits about us and working out which side we’re on.
Workplaces have taken a perverse turn, and I mean that in its Freudian sense. We live in a society where receiving chemotherapy means you’re fit for work and millions of people work in zombie organisations, shuffling like un-deads from one bit of paper to the next, a substitute for productive life. A sadistically superficial age where the therapists put in charge of the Psychological Wellbeing of an increasingly distressed nation work under Dickensian workhouse conditions high fiving the therapist sitting next to them in an IAPT call centre when someone doesn’t answer the phone.
The political debates in the recent conference season like to split rich and poor, working people and unemployed, left from right. The reality is that we have millions of working poor, part timers, zero hours, agency workers, interns and the unwaged all mixed up in that love bundle called the world of work. As these social fault lines break down, mental illness has become the number one cause of absence making it our best kept occupational dirty secret. As humans, we do like a bit of splitting and those of us who audaciously stumble into precarious states of mind 9-5 are subject to a game of psychic ping pong where organisational problems get projected into the individuals within them. In polite terms we could call it psychic recycling but actually it’s a dump and run, easier to refer someone to occupational health than take the issue of corporate psychopathy to the next board meeting.”
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