Barcelona Signs the First Agreement to Take Note of Mental Health in the Workplace

The document, signed with Foment del Treball, Pimec, CCOO and UGT, highlights the need to improve current working conditions.

Ada Colau, Mayor of Barcelona


This Monday, Barcelona City Council has signed the first agreement to care for mental health at work, which highlights the need to improve working conditions. The council signed the agreement with Foment del Treball, Pimec and the CCOO and UGT trade unions, and the initiative, which is open to companies and organisations in the city, is part of the city council’s 2016-2022 Mental Health Plan. “Having a job or not, and the type of job one has, has a very clear impact on people’s state of health,” said the mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau.

The aim of the agreement is to promote measures to help care for and safeguard mental health in the workplace. To this end, the signatory organisations have agreed on a series of principles to be worked on by the signatory organisations.

These principles include improving working conditions, encouraging companies to offer their workers mental health resources such as: 

Raising awareness among the workforce, facilitating training, promoting the integration of people with mental disorders into the workplace, minimising exposure to psychosocial risk factors at work, facilitating the implementation of specific programmes for the prevention of mental disorders, combating psychological harassment, introducing detection tools and promoting coordination between companies’ occupational risk prevention services and the mental health network.

Barcelona Town Hall


Colau pointed out that, in the wake of the covid-19 health crisis, another crisis has arisen: that of mental health. “It existed before, but it was very much silenced. One of the good things about this terrible pandemic is that now there is more talk about mental health”, stressed the mayor, who insisted that “good working conditions are the basis of good emotional health”.

To facilitate the implementation of the commitments in the agreement, Barcelona City Council’s Consell Assessor de Salut Laboral (CASL) has drawn up a catalogue of resources aimed at companies, occupational health professionals, workers and citizens.


Mental Health in Decline After the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected people’s health, as also their goals, family dynamics, job roles and economic stability. In this sense, it is an unprecedented global crisis that has impacted mental health through multiple mechanisms simultaneously and requires urgent action.

Abrupt changes in daily habits, fear of contagion, possible disconnection from nature and changes in family roles (due to teleworking, homeschooling or even unemployment) have sometimes resulted in high levels of stress over weeks or even months and may have led to anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders. It’s also worth noting that during home confinement, domestic violence increased significantly.

Neurobiological aspects of the close link between COVID-19 disease and mental health disorders. About 30-60% of patients with COVID-19 suffer from central and peripheral nervous system manifestations. Furthermore, having schizophrenia is the second risk factor for death from COVID-19 after age.

These mental health problems directly related to infection will decrease as the spread of the virus is controlled, but those associated with trauma and the socio-economic impact of the pandemic will increase even after population immunity has been achieved.

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