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.”
Business can learn how to manage psychosocial risks at work by watching the IOSH webinar ‘ISO 45005 – The changing landscape for managing psychosocial risks’ which provides guidance on managing psychological health, safety and psychosocial risk within an occupational health and safety management system.
IOSH’s Future Leaders Steering Group is hosting a webinar on ‘Tackling mental health how new OSH professionals can make an impact’ on 13 October at 12.30pm BST. The session will be hosted by Robert Jukes from the Future Leaders Community Steering Group and Health, Safety and Environment Manager at Wax Lyrical. He will be joined by panellists including Joe Donnelly, Board Member, Tackling Awareness of Mental Health Issues (TAMHI); Rob Stephenson, Mental Health Campaigner and Founder/CEO of Form and InsideOut; and Heather Beach, Founder/Managing Director, The Healthy Work Company.
The Institution is also hosting a panel discussion ‘Covid-19 and mental health: workplace psychosocial risks, impacts and mitigations’ on 15 October at 12.30pm BST. This timely panel discussion revisits the damaging work-related psychosocial pressures caused or worsened by Covid-19 and its impacts. This webinar brings together mental health and wellbeing experts to give their views and answer questions. To book a place, visit this webpage.
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.