The Reverend Rees took to his pulpit for World Mental Health Day on October 10. “Time taken off work due to mental health illnesses was an “economic consideration” for the Bristol region,” he blustered on Youtube in another EMPTY PR GESTURE designed to make him look like he gives a shit.
Although he is right. Mental health illness is an “economic consideration”. Especially in his own organisation, where 25 per cent of the 4,000 working days lost to sickness absence at Bristol City Council in the last six months were due to “ANXIETY, STRESS, DEPRESSION“.
This is almost entirely the fault of the Reverend’s incompetent, naval-gazing SENIOR BOSS CLASS. A relentless focus on their own terms, conditions and wages and the obsessive feathering of executive and managerial nests at the DIRECT EXPENSE of the public they serve and the people they employ is clear for us all to see.
It’s no coincidence that the lowest rates of sickness – with less than ONE DAY per person lost to sickness in six months – are in the pampered executive offices of the City Director. Here, the soft-handed Reverend and his well-heeled bosses and advisors drift from relaxed meetings with each other discussing how to fuck up our lives to laidback briefings among themselves to set-up their next salary uplift. They are UNSTRUCTURED, UNSUPERVISED and UNACCOUNTABLE.
Meanwhile, the highest rates of sickness are in frontline services – social services, adult care and housing – where the absence rates are TEN TIMES more for those doing the REAL WORK – dealing with the consequences of crappy, distant management decisions from a decaying and corrupt organisation.
The Reverend’s response to the MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS unfolding in front of his eyes in his own organisation was another PR announcement for organisations he’s not really responsible for. Launching an unfunded schools’ mental health initiative he explained he wanted “to help young people build emotional and psychological resilience”.
Presumably, then, the Reverend’s staff can just fuck off?