October 10th 2018 marks World Mental Health Day. Promoted by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the focus for this year is young people and mental health in a changing world. According to the WHO, suicide is the second leading cause of death in 15-29 year-olds worldwide with half of all mental illnesses beginning by age 14. Also according to that body sadly the majority of cases go undetected, potentially leading to problems in later life.
That’s why the focus this year is on young people; with building understanding, building awareness and helping to build mental resilience at the heart of the campaign. Whilst some of the focus naturally is on intervention by parents and schools we shouldn’t ignore the fact that with young people potentially entering the workforce from the age of 16 onwards, employers too can play their part.
Sometimes it’s the simplest things that can make all the difference. We’ve written before about the importance of removing the stigma surrounding mental illness; but there are also other ways in which employers can help such as ensuring that a healthy work-life balance gives people time to relax and unwind. Similarly, creating a culture in which asking for help is seen as something normal rather than an admission of failure can help to ensure that problems aren’t magnified because they are un-spoken.
Enhancing mental resilience not only helps your people it has knock-on benefits across the organisation and its wider sphere of influence. That’s why publicity generated by events such as World Mental Health Day can make so much difference not only for today also for the future.