The theme of the World Mental Health Day 2017 is Mental health in the workplace. The World Mental Health Day is observed on 10 October every year, with the overall objective of ” raising awareness of mental health issues and mobilizing efforts in support of better mental health”.
The World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not necessarily the absence of disease or infirmity”. The WHO also says that mental health is important for adults because we spend a large proportion of our time at work. Our experience in the workplace also determines our overall wellbeing.
The WHO states that “employers and managers who put in place workplace initiatives to promote mental health and to support employees who have mental disorders see gains not only in the health of their employees but also in their productivity at work”. Conversely, a negative working environment may lead to physical and mental health problems, harmful use of substances or alcohol, absenteeism and lost productivity.
More than 65 per cent of employees feel scared, embarrassed or unable to speak to their employer about mental health concerns. 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. A recent WHO-led study estimates that depression and anxiety disorders cost the global economy US$ 1 trillion each year in lost productivity.
Each year, World Mental Health day pushes a certain initiative. This year, the organisation is focusing on the Workplace Pledge. The scheme encourages bosses to commit to the following:
- Appreciation of employees and workers
- Creating of a supportive environment
- Identification of early signs of burnout
- Creating an organizational culture which reflects value systems and beliefs
- Stress management
- Building awareness and reducing stigma
- Mental health wellness and providing support for employees who need it
- World Health Organization