The World Health Organization has called stress “the health epidemic of our time.” The American Institute of Stress reports that 80% of workers feel stressed on the job. And in the US alone, the total cost of stress in the workplace adds up to USD $300 billion in lost productivity.
“The scope and cost of the problem means mental health must become more visible and acceptable”, says Dr. David Batman, Virgin Pulse Science Advisory Board Member and registered occupational health consultant with expertise in mental health issues at work.
“The time has come to dispel the fear and myths surrounding stress and bring it out into the open,” Batman said. “In the last few years, the world has slowly become more aware of this enormous burden and the potential for health gains.
“This is due to the magnitude, suffering and burden on both individuals and organisations. Stressed employees may suffer anxiety, depression and sleep deprivation. And for business this can mean frequent absence, high turnover and poor performance.”
Dr Batman says there are a number of things that could transform the way organisations, employers, managers and staff understand and deal with people living with mental distress.
“It is primarily about education,” he says. “My experience suggests that if the leadership of an organisation sets the right tone, people feel more comfortable asking for help. Assessing wellbeing at your workplace is critical before developing new policies and practices and it is recommended you take stock of your current systems for ensuring a healthy workplace.”
For more advice, download our paper: Stress: Identify and Improve the Hidden Workplace Threat.