LGBT workers are facing a “mental health crisis” caused by “recession and austerity”, says TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady.

The TUC has published a new briefing for trade union reps about mental health issues and how LGBT people can be affected in the workplace.

Recent studies show that one of the main causes of mental health issues for LGBT people is bullying and harassment in the workplace because of their sexuality.

The briefing gives reps practical advice on how to tackle a challenging work environment, how to support union members who are experiencing prejudice from managers or colleagues, and how to negotiate effective equality policies with employers.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “One of the impacts of recession and austerity has been a large increase in the number of cases of mental health issues across the working age population.

“The stigma attached to these problems means many workers are reluctant to talk to their colleagues or managers, often leaving it until it is too late to avert long-term absence from work which can then lead to them losing their jobs.

“LGBT workers in particular are being affected by this mental health crisis, and union reps need to understand why this is happening, learn how to support them, and recognise that prejudice and discrimination at work can be what is causing the problem in the first place.”

Research published on Monday by the NUS showed one in five lesbian, gay and bisexual students has experienced bullying or harassment at a university campus, with the figure rising to one in three for trans students, a new report reveals.