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Invest in mental health on World Mental Health Day

06 October 2020

AS WORKING lives have changed significantly as a result of Covid-19, IOSH is encouraging businesses to invest in mental health programmes on World Mental Health Day (10 October 2020).

Worldwide, around one billion people have a mental disorder and anyone, anywhere, can be affected. Depression is one of the leading causes of illness and disability among adolescents and adults. Suicide claims the lives of nearly 800,000 people every year – 1 person every 40 seconds – it is the second leading cause of death for young people aged 15-29 years.

IOSH is supporting World Mental Health Day which aims to highlight the need to increase investment in mental health. This year, the day is organised by the World Health Organization, United for Global Mental Health and the World Federation for Mental Health.

The day highlights that the past months have brought many challenges for all workers – whether you’re a health care worker providing care in difficult circumstances and going to work fearful of bringing Covid-19 home, a teacher teaching students in a socially distant classroom, or an office worker who now works from home and maybe feeling isolated.

IOSH President Dr Andrew Sharman said, “Around the world more than a million people have died from Covid-19 leaving families, friends and colleagues going through grief, and sometimes without being able to say goodbye.

“It is expected that the need for mental health and psychosocial support will significantly increase in the coming months and years, which means investment in mental health programmes is now more important than ever.

“To help raise awareness of mental health issues, IOSH is organising webinars, highlighting research in this area, and promoting guides and courses to help businesses manage mental health at work. 

“I encourage everyone to invest in mental health on World Mental Health Day and help raise awareness on social media.”  

Just last week, IOSH released new research to gain a better understanding of individual variability in the return to work process for employees on sick leave due to poor mental health. The study by Tilburg University identified a range of trajectories that workers with mental health problems go through as part of their return to work – with some able to return quicker than others – the study emphasised the need for more tailored approaches.

There are a number of free guides on the IOSH website including Working well, a guide on promoting health and wellbeing at work and the Occupational health management in the workplace guide. IOSH also has the Managing Occupational Health and Wellbeing course which provides practical advice and tools for managers to help create a healthy and productive place of work.

Find out more about World Mental Health Day and get involved on social media using the hashtag #WorldMentalHealthDay.