Targeted workplace mental health support is demanded by international organizations

The International Labor Organization (ILO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have demanded specific efforts to address issues with mental health among the working population. To address the issue of mental health at work, the organizations have collaborated to publish two new publications: the WHO Guidelines on mental health at work and a derived WHO/ILO policy brief. The actionable tactics described in the policy brief serve as reinforcement for the recommendations on mental health at work. The paper's release comes in response to data that suggests sadness and anxiety cost the global economy close to $1 trillion yearly by stealing 12 billion workdays from workers. The global recommendations of the WHO urge organizations to take action to address hazards to mental health like excessive workloads, negative behaviors, and other elements that cause suffering at work. The organization also suggested managers receive training on how to avoid creating stressful work conditions and handle distressed employees. The recommendations urge employers to adopt better practices for accommodating the needs of employees with mental health conditions, to suggest interventions that support their return to work, and, for those with severe mental health conditions, to offer interventions to ensure entry into paid employment. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the WHO, said that it was time to emphasize the harm that labor can do to one's mental health. Although the individual's well-being should be enough of a motivator to take action, poor mental health can also have a crippling effect on a person's performance and productivity. Additionally, the most recent WHO report on global mental health, released in June 2022, revealed that 15% of working-age persons have had a mental condition. The organization argued that societal issues are made worse by workplace issues like psychological aggression (commonly known as "mobbing"), inequality, and discrimination, which affect mental health. However, the WHO emphasized that, despite the consequences, talking about or disclosing mental health in the workplace is still frowned upon globally, as evidenced by data from its Mental Health Atlas, which showed that only 35% of nations reported having national programs for the promotion and prevention of work-related mental health. Guy Ryder, director general of the ILO, said that a safe and healthy working environment was critical. Building a culture of prevention around mental health at work, changing the workplace to end social exclusion and stigma, and making sure employees with mental health disorders feel supported are all things we need to do. The publishing of the WHO and ILO recommendations is "extremely necessary," according to Lucy Shoolbred, co-founder and director of Working Mindset. She said that for workers throughout the world, it's a major accomplishment. It's time for mental health standards to be specified, just as there are physical health standards that have been around for a very long time. Echoing this, Idris Arshad, people and inclusion partner at St Christopher’s Hospice, said that the data identifies those who are harmed, but the amount of people who have not reported their pain is what worries us. The alarming fact is that more would be found if they were counted.