A WHO perspective on mental health

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Why is mental health important in the workplace?

Mental health is very important in the workplace; A mentally healthy workforce is a productive workforce. A number of studies have shown that one of the biggest losses in productivity is not just absenteeism when people fail to come to work because of an illness, but “presenterism” when people are at work but not really productive. You surf the Internet, chat on the water cooler, take longer breaks and lunch or just sit at your desk but cannot work productively.

To what extent do you think mental health is more than the absence of mental disorders?

Mental health is definitely more than the absence of mental disorders. An example could be a person who does not have a diagnosable mental condition, but may not be able to maintain personal relationships, may not be able to be economically productive. Some people without mental illness plan and may commit terrible crimes such as kidnapping, murder, or interpersonal violence. You don’t necessarily have to have a mental illness.

What are the determinants of mental health? Why is it important to promote and protect mental health? Mental health determinants can be genetic – the genes we inherit from our parents. The biggest, however, are the social determinants of mental health. These include female gender, low socioeconomic status, food insecurity, belonging to a low-income group, low job satisfaction, immigrants from a low- or middle-income country, interpersonal adversity in early childhood, fainting, negative life events, lack of social or emotional support , Living alone and living in cohabitation. There are also environmental factors, such as living in a low-income neighborhood, living in a camp for internally displaced people, working in stressful environments. There are natural and man-made adverse events including earthquakes, mudslides and floods, tsunami, cyclones, hurricanes, as well as epidemics and pandemics, and man-made events such as conflict, rape and other forms of interpersonal violence. Bullying, including cyberbullying, is increasingly leading to mental illness, especially among young people.

Mental health promotion and prevention are important as they ensure optimal mental wellbeing and lead to optimal functioning of the individual. the UNICEF State of the Children of the World 2021 reported that universal school-based mental health programs offered during childhood can amortize this investment by age 80. There is some evidence that school-based mental health programs can reduce the likelihood of behavioral disorders in children, as well as the likelihood of antisocial personality disorder in adulthood. Mental health promotion and prevention activities, such as relaxation exercises, yoga, meditation, physical exercise, are known to help maintain mental well-being and reduce relapses for those who may have a known mental illness.

How is WHO responding to helping governments strengthen and promote mental health?

WHO has one Global Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2030, which outlines specific work priorities with measurable indicators up to 2030. WHO has developed various guidelines, which are available on our website, as well as technical assistance in introducing these guidelines in countries. These include LIVE LIFE for suicide prevention, Helping Adolescents Thrive, SAFER Initiative to reduce harmful alcohol consumption, Problem Management Plus, a psychological intervention. We offer psychological first aid and basic psychosocial skills for COVID-19 responders especially for emergencies. WHO also supports countries so that they can strengthen their mental health systems.


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