Investing in mental health at the workplace and supporting those concerned by mental health problems
A negative working environment may lead to physical and mental health problems, harmful use of substances or alcohol, absenteeism and lost productivity
In the context of its commitment to health promotion and education, Dianova and the NGO Committee on Mental Health in New York join a global campaign developed by WHO to promote mental health in the workplace. A spotlight will be put on the campaign on October 10, on the occasion of the World Mental Health Day, an event held each year in the aim of raising awareness of mental health issues and mobilizing efforts in support of better mental health.
Mental health plays an essential role in people’s overall health, as emphasized by WHO’s Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2020 adopted by the World Health Assembly, the the decision-making body of WHO. This is why Dianova aligns itself with the objectives and strategies defined in this plan: addressing social determinants of mental health; implementing prevention and promotion activities; and increasing access to evidence-based care.
Work has a critical influence on people’s mental health. Unemployment for example is a well-recognized risk factor for mental health problems, while returning to, or getting work is protective. A negative working environment may lead to physical and mental health problems, harmful use of substances or alcohol, absenteeism and lost productivity.
- Work is good for mental health but a negative working environment can lead to physical and mental health problems.
- Depression and anxiety have a significant economic impact; the estimated cost to the global economy is US$ 1 trillion per year in lost productivity.
- Harassment and bullying at work are commonly reported problems, and can have a substantial adverse impact on mental health.
- There are many effective actions that organizations can take to promote mental health in the workplace; such actions may also benefit productivity.
Depression and anxiety disorders are common mental disorders that have an impact on our ability to work, and to work productively. Globally, more than 300 million people suffer from depression, the leading cause of disability. More than 260 million are living with anxiety disorders. Many of these people live with both.
There are many risk factors for mental health that may be present in the working environment. Most risks relate to interactions between type of work, the organizational and managerial environment, the skills and competencies of employees, and the support available for employees to carry out their work.
Risks to mental health include:
- inadequate health and safety policies;
- poor communication and management practices;
- limited participation in decision-making or low control over one’s area of work;
- low levels of support for employees;
- inflexible working hours; and
- unclear tasks or organizational objectives.
The goal of the campaign is to raise awareness of the need to invest more resources to create and maintain healthy workplaces.
This effort is aimed to policy makers, health and prevention workers and human resource managers, highlighting how to recognize and prevent work-related risk factors and put resources to solve them.
Through images and messages, people are invited to follow a series of recommendations on prevention, as well as to share these messages on the social networks.