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Employee Wellbeing on World Mental Health Day

October 9, 2017 / Corporate Wellness / Hailey McDonald

Oct. 10 marks World Mental Health Day. More than 300 million people across the world suffer from depression and it is the leading cause of disability according to the World Health Organization.

The average person will spend 90,000 hours on the job in their lifetime. Stress is costing the U.S. $300 billion per year in turnover, absenteeism, productivity and medical costs. The link between mental health and organizational success is clear. Business leaders must support employee wellbeing – especially their mental health – to drive the business outcomes that matter most.

To increase awareness of mental health on (and beyond) the day, Dr David Batman – a member of the Science Advisory Board at Virgin Pulse Institute; as well as a registered occupational health consultant with expertise in psychological health – has an open message for employers …

“I have been practicing as a specialist in Occupational Medicine for 30 years and serve on the Science Advisory Board for Virgin Pulse.

“In my consultations with employees and colleagues, I’ve never seen this consistent level and depth of stress and worry about economic and political change, and the potential for future impact.

“There is a sense that the world around us is rapidly changing and the jobs and systems we all thought would sustain us no longer work as we were told they would.

“A feeling of uncertainty, a loss of control, is a universal cause of job stress. When you feel powerless, you’re prey to anxiety and depression’s traveling companions, helplessness and hopelessness.

“As employers, it is important to communicate what we can.  This will reduce the range and number of things that are uncertain. Focusing on what is known will reduce stress, even if you can’t completely remove uncertainty.

“Building up people’s resilience may seem like an obvious choice. It is increasingly rising to the top of the list for employers who believe toughening up their workforce is the answer to handling change.

However, ‘What is a Good Day at Work’ research found that a worrying 27% of people say work brings them down, and 10% of people don’t even have one good day at work a week. These statistics make it clear that simply getting people to toughen up is a far too black and white approach.

“Creating a positive wellbeing culture that incorporates both physical and mental health can be an anchor in these times of continual and uncertain change. When employees feel supported and understood, and wellbeing at work is high and visible on the agenda, they will become increasingly resilient and adaptable. This will allow them to thrive despite uncertainty and respond more positively to change. And surely that’s what every employer desires – a workforce that has the energy and motivation to learn new skills, take on new ideas and challenges and continue to deliver business results despite change.”

For the latest expert insights and research on how to support your employees’ mental wellbeing, download our new employee wellbeing toolkit.

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