On October 10th, 2017, everyone from mental health practitioners to national governments are encouraged to #LightUpPurple and celebrate World Mental Health Day. Founded in 1992 by the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH), World Mental Health Day has the singular mission of improving the quality of mental health services around the globe. In order to accomplish this goal across 96 different countries, WFMH thought it best to focus on highlighting a singular issue that is relevant to every citizen of the world. The theme for 2017 is: Mental Health in the Work Place.
In our practice, we often hear client’s report feelings of being overwhelmed by the seemingly boundless increase of stress in one’s life due (or related) to work. This is not unique to Minnesotans. According to the WFMH statistics, 1 in 5 people in the workplace struggle with a mental health condition. These mental health conditions, when left untreated, can take an immense toll on an organization’s overall productivity and environment, as well as the individual’s overall health and wellbeing.
Globally, the WFMH projects that work related stress directly and indirectly costs governments, not including any value assigned to the individual’s suffering. For example, the contribution of mental health disorders to the overall cost of disability pensions in Germany has tripled over the last 20 years. Indirectly, mental health conditions, especially those related to stress, have been proven to increase risk of cardio-vascular, muscular-skeletal, and chronic health conditions that cost the individual, the employer, and the government more and more money each year. While most research has focused on the impact of mental health in high-income countries, such as the U.S., it is estimated that there are even more people with mental health issues living in lower and middle-income countries. Having fewer resources to overcome mental health conditions, the individual and the nation unfortunately remain stuck.
Today we encourage you to do an internal assessment of your work-life balance. Are you struggling with chronic stress to a point where it is affecting you mentally or physically? Do you know someone who could use a little extra support in that arena? Do you believe that workplaces both here and abroad should do more to support mental health concerns? If you answered, “yes” to any question, we highly encourage you to #LightUpPurple, and celebrate World Mental Health Day Oct. 10th, 2017.