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7 steps towards a mentally healthy organisation

In Britain – as with most places in the world – we will spend a huge proportion of our lives in a workplace.

Work can give us purpose and motivation in life. But it’s also, for many people, a highly stressful environment. This is something that’s widely understood and accepted as ‘part of the job’.

What’s not so well understood is the impact that this worry and stress can have on our mental health.

In fact, we already know that mental health has huge effects on the workplace. In the UK 70 million workdays are lost each and every year because of mental illness.

Mental health problems affect a companies’ productivity; their ability to retain and attract staff; and ultimately their bottom line.

But the good news is that there are steps that can be taken to change this.

Across the world companies and organisations are stepping up to the plate. They’re taking positive interventions to help staff struggling with their mental health, and finding ways to offer interventions.

Leaders from the world of business and mental health have sought to recognise this pattern and share lessons from the changes they have made in their organisations.

The World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Mental Health has launched a new guide for businesses, with 7 actions they can take to create a mentally healthy organisation.

The project highlights these 7 actions with case studies of the great work of those companies that are already taking action in this area. The guide provides information, guidance and resources for others to do the same. We celebrate the release of this project as another important step forward in mental health – at last, mental health is being taken seriously by business leaders globally.

But it excites us for another reason too.

Those companies profiled haven’t sought to just tick off another box on the HR file. They’ve proactively found ways to intervene, to turn the workplace into a place that can protect, promote, and enhance someone’s mental health.

As a charity who’s raison-d’être is to develop new and innovative treatments this opens up exciting opportunities to expand the way research can help us in our everyday lives.

The workplace has the potential to become a positive frontier for mental health research. It is the logical setting for studies to learn what kind of supports or treatments work best for busy adults.

And through research we can better understand the links between work and family and social life, gaining a comprehensive, holistic approach to understanding how mental health problems develop and how we might prevent that from happening. Evidence from real-life setting is needed to make realistic change.

The opportunity here is huge. We believe that now is the time to seize it. And if you care about your business, and you care about your employees, we hope you’ll start taking action today too.

Last updated: 7 June 2016

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© MQ: Transforming mental health 2016 | Registered charity in England / Wales: 1139916 & Scotland: SC046075 | Company number: 7406055