The Eurocadres blog
Taking responsibility for mental health
Today, 10 October is World Mental Health Day. Every year three days after the World Day of Decent Work, mental health is put in the spotlight. In particular for professionals and managers, but also for many more European workers, mental health is one of the most pressing problems.
Just a week ago I had the opportunity to participate in a workshop on a Canadian campaign that is in the process of being adapted and brought to Europe. 'Not myself today' is a practical and promising solution to help employers transform mental health at work.
We need practical ways of reducing the stigma of mental health problems. This is key for employers being able to assume responsibility, and employers do need to take responsibility to change the situation. Us trade unions need to do our part in raising the issue in the social dialogue on all levels.
employers do need to take responsibility to change the situation
Both small and large employers have their challenges and benefits.
In a small workplace it can be easier to build strong personal relations that can help in promoting good mental health – but at the same time it can be a challenge to find time to do the work needed and seldom there is any Human Resources department that can help out.
In a large company, professional HR work can build on evidence-based methods that are proven to work. However, there is also a greater risk of the individual not being seen when you sometimes rarely even get to meet your nearest manager or colleagues because of how the work is organised.
More than half of all working days lost in the EU can be attributed to work-related stress
I have often quoted the rather alarming statistics about the mental health situation. According to WHO estimations every fourth citizen will be affected by mental health problems at least once during their life, and of the EU population during any given year the figure is more than 10%. More than half of all working days lost in the EU can be attributed to work-related stress where managers in particular are affected. Of managers 80 per cent express concern about it.
The Commission is currently reviewing the legislation on occupational health and safety. Eurocadres proposes that in the framework directive on occupational safety and health, psychosocial risks should be clearly mentioned. It should not be ambiguous whether mental health is an important issue in European workplaces today.
It should not be ambiguous whether mental health is an important issue in European workplaces today.
When the Commission, in a communication, reviewed the implementation of this directive it stated that “There is hardly any consideration of psychosocial risk factors and work organisational factors.”. This was already in 2004. It is time to move on the issue.
President of Eurocadres