Rethink To 13 interview: “Who looks after my mental health, while I look after others?” 

As part of our campaign calling for the government to rethink pay commitments in the 2024-25 Budget, Partners for Inclusion Support Practitioner Natalie tells us about the impact a wage increase could have

“I have been a support practitioner for 20 years and in that time a lot has changed. My role has become increasingly more complex with many new health and social care skills to learn. However, one thing that hasn’t changed over time is the unfair rate of pay!

Compared to others with similar skill sets and responsibilities like teaching assistants, community support and NHS care assistants, support practitioners work the last 3.5 months of the year for nothing. That is how big the pay gap is!

I work with someone who experiences poor mental health and since the pandemic and Brexit we have struggled to recruit support practitioners. This has an impact on me and the person I support.

People’s mental health deteriorated during Covid and as a result our workload has increased.

This has meant working longer hours and often missing days off and not having as much time as we would like to attend to our own mental health and self-care. This has an effect on the relationships I have with my family and friends because at times there are just not enough hours in the week.

Having a fairer rate of pay would encourage people into the sector and retain the staff we have and as a result there would be less people suffering from burn-out and sickness.

One in 6.8 people experience mental health problems in the workplace and evidence shows that 12.7% of all sickness is attributed to mental ill health.

Having a fairer pay rate would mean I have time and money to look after myself and in turn mean I would be in an even better position to ensure supported people live their lives to the full.”

Partners for Inclusion is an independent charity providing individualised support for people with learning disabilities and/or mental health services. Find out more.

Visit our campaigns page for more information on Rethink To 13.