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From The Socialist newspaper, 27 March 2019

Reader's comment: mental health under capitalism

Capitalism's attacks on young people have caused a mental health crisis, photo Ryan Melaugh/CC

Capitalism's attacks on young people have caused a mental health crisis, photo Ryan Melaugh/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Max McGee, Nuneaton Socialist Party

The way capitalism manages the collective mental health of workers is a method that eats its own tail.

The casualisation of labour, the Orwellian production quotas, the disdain with which big business greets the alienation of its workforce, combine to produce an increasingly dystopian reality of life and health under this system.

With capitalism offering no realistic solution to a dying planet, this sense of powerlessness is multi-faceted. That is part of how the market makes us sick.

Workers in Britain and across the globe are engaged in a draconian 'race to the bottom', economically coerced into selling our labour for the lowest price in the market.

The mental impact of this burnout culture is often overlooked by the bosses, as it is not in the nature of big corporations to care for any motive other than profit.

According to the most recent National Employee Mental Health Survey, at any one point, one in six of the working-age population is suffering from a mental health condition.

Last year, stress accounted for 43% of all working days lost due to ill health and for 34% of all work-related ill health cases.

Yet, when asked by their employers, 95% of employees cited a reason other than workplace stress for their absence due to stigma and possible blacklisting.

When attempting to explain mental health it is vital to look at the capitalist system. There is often a refusal to recognise the significance of economic conditions in education, health and the workplace. There is often a refusal to look at the underlying causes of mental ill health.

According to the Mental Health Research Charity 75% of mental illnesses begin in childhood. Yet many schools report funding cuts have meant school counsellors and pastoral care specialists are no longer being employed, while 50% of mental health problems in adult life take root before the age of 15.

What needs to be factored in is that capitalist austerity means these problems are not being tackled pre-emptively. It is vital to understand that physical and mental health do not exist in a vacuum.

At surface level, it may seem that these systemic problems of capitalism are all-powerful and all-encompassing, but it is through a socialist alternative and a democratic planned economy, controlled by the working class, that the root cause of these problems can and will be removed.

The Socialist Party says

The Socialist Party fights for full funding for the NHS, including massive expansion of mental health facilities, and an end to bullying and insecure work.

There can be no doubt the mental health crisis in workplaces and communities across the country is due to the draconian policies of the Tories and Blairites.

Increasingly, people have to work multiple jobs to make ends meet. Sometimes even that is not enough to cope with rising living costs.

Claimants of in-work benefits are also on the rise. Benefits are under attack through Universal Credit and cuts.

The Socialist Party campaigns within trade unions for effective action against poor pay and conditions, and for coordinated strikes to bring down this bosses' government.

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
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  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 27 March 2019:


What we think

Corbyn and labour movement must mobilise to bring down Tories and force election


Socialist Party news and analysis

Haringey 'Corbyn council' finance chief resigns

Oil firms spend $1bn fighting climate laws: 'Green New Deal' needs socialist policies

Universal Credit forces women into 'survival sex': scrap it now!

NHS staff shortage now permanent: reverse health cuts!


International socialist news and analysis

Algeria uprising: 'We stay here until the whole system goes'


Socialist history

Lessons of the heroic 1984-85 Miners' strike

Visteon: when factory occupations stayed the hands of the bosses


Workplace news and analysis

Support the Honda workers: nationalise to save jobs

Valentine school strike against budget cuts and redundancies

Newark machine bearings factory workers return to work

Striking teachers march against Enfield schools academisation plans

Bradford College strike remains solid over pay and funding

West London civil service workers strike against office closure


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Climate strike reports

United working-class struggle needed to fight for trans and women's rights

Leeds residents' anger against private 18-story monster block in 'Little London'

Enthusiastic Southern region socialists plan for the struggles ahead

Worcester library cuts: staff not even consulted


Opinion

Reader's comment: mental health under capitalism

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