Chris Jenkinson, UNISON Regional Secretary for East Midlands

Public service workforces are now blighted with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to a leading East Midlands union boss.

People who were once confident, outward looking, and loving life are now finding it hard to sleep, having issues with relationships outside of work and are experiencing flashbacks.

Chris Jenkinson is East Midlands regional secretary for UNISON – one of the UK’s largest trade unions.

Traditionally PTSD is experienced by people who have witnessed horrific scenes in war-torn countries or being involved in serious accidents.

However, Mr Jenkinson said this is becoming more common within the public sector.

He said: “PTSD symptoms are now becoming widespread in the public service work force.

He added: “These are people who were dealing with the realities of the pandemic early on and people who had never experienced that degree of pressure before.

The regional boss has now called upon employers to give the frontline workers the mental health support they desperately need.

“These are the consequences that are living with people for a long time.

“We’re talking with employees to say, ‘you can’t ignore this’, to get them therapeutic support for people, if they need time out, give it them.”

Being kept away from immediate family, forced to live in caravans away from loved ones for weeks are just some of the struggles social workers faced.

“Our frontline staff have been put under pressure and they’ve had the worst 18 months of their time.

“Front line workers have been affected the most – I know some who worked in care homes who were not only allowed to see wider family but their own family.

“There were care assistants who were doing 12-hour shifts in a care home and then going and living in a caravan on their own for weeks to safeguard their families and residents in the home.”

This follows research carried out by Campaign Collective which found almost two thirds of social care workers believe their mental health is suffering from workloads.

A further half of social workers also said they considered leaving their jobs because of this.