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Good Health Is Good Business: World Mental Health Day 2017

“The health of business depends on the health of workers.”

  • –– Maria P. Neira, Director, WHO Department of Public Health and Environment

Today is World Mental Health Day, and there is good reason why this year’s theme is “mental health in the workplace.” Employment is good for our overall well-being, and healthy, productive workers are good for business. Good health includes mental health.

Research shows that a negative working environment can lead to countless physical and mental health problems. Globally, more than 300 million people live with depression, while more than 260 million people live with anxiety disorders. Many people live with both. Depression and anxiety cost the global economy $1 trillion in lost productivity each year, according to a recent World Health Organization study. The good news is that every $1 in treatment returns $4 in improved health and productivity.

A mentally healthy workplace is one in which individuals feel valued, supported and respected. In a mentally healthy workplace, individuals have access to confidential employee assistance, are supported in taking the time they need to care for their mental health and have the resources they need to be successful when they return to work. Stigma, discrimination and bias have no place in a mentally healthy workplace.

Workplaces that promote mental health and support people with mental health problems are more likely to reduce absenteeism, increase productivity and be more profitable. Employees are more likely to stay with a company that addresses their mental health needs and creates an environment where they can openly discuss mental health and treatment.

Recognizing World Mental Health Day on October 10 throughout your office is a great place to start, but efforts like these can’t be limited to a single day. Companies can support their employees’ health and protect their bottom line by creating awareness about mental health and addressing mental health problems at work.

Mental Health First Aid at Work is a workplace mental health training program that teaches participants how to notice and support an individual who may be experiencing a mental health or substance use concern or crisis and connect them with the appropriate employee resources. Mental Health First Aid at Work is a skills-based, experiential and evidence-based practice that supports healthy and productive work environments by:

  1. Reducing the stigma associated with mental illness and substance use.
  2. Addressing the correlation between physical health and mental health.
  3. Increasing mental health literacy and providing the appropriate language to start a conversation.
  4. Teaching the skills to safely and responsibly address a coworker’s mental health or substance use concerns.

Let’s celebrate World Mental Health Day by feeling empowered to increase awareness about mental health and start the conversation. For more information about how to implement Mental Health First Aid at Work in your workplace, email MHFAatWork@TheNationalCouncil.org.