The COVID-19 pandemic brought with it a slew of problems for people around the world, including a global crisis for mental health. Even before the pandemic hit in 2019, an estimated one in eight people globally were living with a mental disorder, according to the World Health Organization. With the ongoing pandemic itself combined with other Covid-related problems, including inflation, rising costs, the Great Resignation, healthcare expenses and more, people are finding themselves struggling in a number of ways.
Making Mental Health Awareness a Priority in Your Business Has Clear Benefits
With all of these complex challenges facing people around the world, there seem to be no untouched areas of life — including in the workplace. Employees have started re-thinking what is most important, what matters and what they need to not only survive, but thrive. Business owners and leaders are finding themselves forced to take a step back and really examine their overall business health. Many companies are learning that what the overall health of their business comes down to is the overall health of its people. And it’s clear, now more than ever before, that our general health is directly related to our mental health.
Businesses Can Support Employees in a Big Way
So what can businesses do to support mental health awareness — and should companies even get involved in their employees’ mental health? With this crisis in mind, combined with the fact that adults spend such a large portion of our time at work, it seems obvious that business owners and leaders should absolutely make mental health a priority for employees. The question is not if – but how – leaders can provide mental health support and resources in the workplace.
Promoting mental health in the workplace is possible; and company leaders will likely see the benefits of implementing these programs fairly quickly. A few ideas businesses can and should implement at work include:
1. Create a healthy workplace: By outlining guidelines for health and safety, including prohibiting harassment and bullying, and providing support and rehabilitation for distress, burnout, substance abuse and other mental health concerns, a healthy workplace can be created for employees.
2.Reduce the stigma associated with mental health: Help your employees handle issues or concerns by encouraging open lines of communication and creating work environments where employees feel empowered and safe to share their own experiences.
3. Consider offering weekly “recharge sessions”: These are beneficial breaks where employees can take time to relax, meditate, stretch and practice deep breathing techniques.
4. Give your employees opportunities to connect: Socializing together or participating in company-wide volunteer opportunities can create deeper bonds and a renewed sense of happiness.
5. Support your employees’ mental health: Partnering with local mental health providers to offer free counseling on-site and incorporating support groups that allow employees to gather and discuss workplace mental health are just a few ways you can help support your employees’ mental health.
Remember that research shows that creating a positive work environment and promoting and supporting a mentally healthy workforce results in:
- Increased productivity rates
- Completion of higher-quality work
- Lower rates of absenteeism
- Improved employee loyalty
- Improved employee engagement and more!
The health and wellness of your employees directly impacts the success of your business. How will you make mental health a priority for your employees?
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Data from WHO – 2022 World Mental Health Report
Prevalence & burden
- 970 million people globally were living with a mental disorder in 2019
- 1 in 8 people globally were living with a mental disorder in 2019
- > 80% of people with mental disorders live in LMICs
- 26% increase in anxiety disorders in first year of pandemic
- 28% increase in major depressive disorder in first year of pandemic
- 14% of the world’s adolescents (aged 10–19 years) lived with a mental disorder in 2019
- 1 in 100 deaths globally are from suicide
- 58% of suicides happen before the age of 50 years.
- 1 in 10 Disability-Adjusted Life Years are caused by mental, neurological and substance use disorders
- 10% of Disability-Adjusted Life Years caused by depressive disorder are attributable to childhood sexual abuse and bullying victimization
- 1 in 6 years lived with disability are caused by mental disorders
- US$ 6 trillion is the projected total cost in 2030 of a defined set of mental health conditions
- 12 billion productive workdays are lost every year to depression and anxiety alone, at a cost of nearly US$ 1 trillion
- 5 to 1 benefit-cost ratio for scaling up treatment for depression and anxiety
- 84 million people worldwide were forcibly displaced during 2021
- 7 times greater risk of depression for people with three or more physical health conditions
- 100 times greater risk of death by suicide for people with HIV than others
- 1/5 of all suicides are from pesticide self-poisonings
- 5.4 million children globally live in institutional care Gaps & wins
- 7% of funding for global health research goes to mental health
- Less than 5% of research funding goes to LMICs Resources
- 2% of government health budgets is allocated to mental health
- 1% of government health budgets is allocated to mental health in LMICs
- 2 out of 3 dollars (66%) government spending on mental health goes to stand-alone inpatient psychiatric hospitals
- 0.3% of global development assistance for health went to mental health (2006–2016)
Services: coverage & quality
- 71% of people with psychosis worldwide do not receive mental health services.
- 12% of people with psychosis in low-income countries receive mental health care.
- 1 in 10 staff in institutions of high-income countries admit to elder physical abuse in the preceding year