Healthy Living

Mental Health: An Important Workplace Agenda

During April 28 of every year, we celebrate World Day for Safety and Health at Work. But beyond congratulating ourselves as a society for making healthy and safety procedures a norm in the workplace, we must also look beyond the physical and take note of one important aspect that may or may not break out working lives: our mental health and what we need to do to take care of it.

Why mental health?

One word: taboo. That’s right, because while we, as a society, have recognized that our health and safety in the workplace is important (along with men’s emotions and the internal struggle of women), for some reason, mental health is still not that much talked about. Why? Why do we have a society where talking about mental health is taboo? And why haven’t we changed it yet?

“We’re loath to talk about mental health at work. If we’re feeling emotional at work, our impulse is to  conceal it – to hide in the bathroom when we’re upset, or book a fake meeting if we need alone time during the day. We’re hesitant to ask for what we need – flex time, or a day working from home – until we experience a major life event, like a new baby or the illness of a parent,” wrote Morra Aarons-Mele in a recent article.

As a generation “obsessed” with ourselves, we can also partly blame social media for this, especially on the part where we compare our lives with other people’s lives, forgetting that social media is a rose-colored perspective of it, and it’s mostly superficial and unimportant.

It’s an ongoing problem, one that costs that global economy around $1 trillion per year in lost productivity.

Thankfully, according to the World Health Organization, there is still hope. “Workspaces that promote mental health and support people with mental disorders are more likely to reduce absenteeism, increase productivity and benefit from associated economic gains,” a study by the organization found.

This means that once the taboo has been broken, workplaces can start creating better relationships and bonds, one where mental health is still issue, but it is properly addressed.