The demands of a fast, virtual and ever changing modern life, coupled with the challenges posed by the pandemic, are significantly impacting our collective well-being. Today, experts openly speak about an ongoing mental health crisis. It is crucial for us to recognize the importance of mental health in general and mental health at work, as it directly affects the success of both individuals and organizations. In this blog post, we will explore why and how we highlight the significance of mental health from the perspective of HR professionals and company leadership and how the upcoming World Mental Health Day might be a great way to make a statement.
The Current Mental Health Crisis:
The ongoing mental health crisis continues to escalate, with a surge in mental health issues observed across the globe. Startling statistics reveal that the prevalence of mental illness is steadily rising and affects approximately 20% of adults annually, emphasizing the pressing need for immediate intervention. Stress, anxiety, and depression emerge as the predominant conditions afflicting individuals, exerting a profound influence on their overall well-being, both personally and professionally.
“Today, mental health needs to be at the forefront of our concerns. Ignoring it comes at a cost to individuals, families, and businesses.”
Dr. David Satcher, 16th Surgeon General of the United States.
Impacts and Threats to Companies:
The mental health crisis has far-reaching implications for businesses, leading to decreased productivity, increased burnout, and reduced employee retention rates. Studies reveal that companies lose an estimated $1 trillion annually due to mental health challenges among employees. Furthermore, untreated mental health issues can lead to absenteeism, presenteeism, and strained workplace relationships, hindering the overall growth and success of organizations.
“Mental health is not a luxury; it’s a necessity for the success of both individuals and businesses.”
Josh Bersin, Global HR Thought Leader.
Unlock the Power of Mental Wellbeing:
While the mental health crisis presents significant challenges, we are fortunate to have more tools than ever to address mental health at work and combat it. Simple lifestyle changes, such as regular exercise, maintaining a nutritious diet, practicing mindfulness, and fostering a sense of community, can have a profound impact on enhancing mental health. Limiting exposure to constant social media and news consumption, helping others, and seeking professional help when needed are additional strategies that contribute to overall well-being. The question is how to promote these measures within the workplace.
Addressing the Challenges as HR Professionals and Company Leaders:
As HR professionals and company leaders, tackling the challenge of mental health at work may seem daunting, but several essential tools can help create a supportive environment. First, we must differentiate between preventive measures and intervention. Having clear policies, procedures and training in place for a mental health emergency and intervention is absolutely key. This can be the implementation of a crisis hotline, providing immediate support to individuals dealing with emergencies or acute mental health issues. This essential resource ensures that employees have access to professional assistance during critical moments.
On the other hand, preventive measures can play a crucial role in promoting mental health at work in the first place. Implementing comprehensive mental health policies that prioritize employee well-being and mental health awareness programs can create a culture of openness and understanding. Employee assistance programs offer confidential counseling services, giving employees a safe space to address their mental health concerns and seek guidance.
Unlocking the Potential: Ideas for World Mental Health Day:
World Mental Health Day presents a unique opportunity to make a difference in the lives of your employees and the organization as a whole. Dedicate this day to raising awareness and initiating meaningful activities that promote mental health at work. Consider organizing informative sessions or workshops led by mental health professionals to provide valuable insights and tools for managing stress and enhancing resilience.
Encourage employee participation and engagement by sharing their experiences and fostering a culture of empathy and understanding. This can be achieved through storytelling sessions, panel discussions, or even small group activities that promote open conversations about mental health.
One impactful idea to support mental health on World Mental Health Day is to leverage a holistic well-being platform like atlasGO. This interactive and digital platform offers a range of activities such as sports, exercise, nutrition, meditation, and yoga, promoting a sense of community and well-being among employees. With atlasGO, you can run engaging holistic well-being challenges or programs, providing employees with resources and fostering a shared commitment to improving mental health.
By embracing these tools and ideas, HR professionals and company leaders can demonstrate their dedication to prioritizing mental health, fostering a supportive workplace culture, and positively impacting the overall well-being of their workforce. Together, we can create environments where mental health thrives, leading to happier, healthier, and more engaged employees. If you want to know how we at altasGO can help you to implement a holistic wellbeing program or just plan for an engaging and fun World Mental Health Day at your company, contact us or schedule a demo here!
Written by Olivier Kaeser