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Many of us spend much of our day at a workplace, so the environment where we work can have a major impact on our mental health. Recognising this, the WHO has made Mental health in the workplace the theme for World Mental Health Day 2017, 10 October.

While work is good for mental health, a negative working environment can lead to physical and mental health problems, harmful use of substances or alcohol, absenteeism and lost productivity. For example, harassment and bullying at work are commonly reported problems, and can have a major adverse impact on mental health.

A recent WHO-led study estimates that depression and anxiety disorders cost the global economy US$ 1 trillion each year in lost productivity.

On the other hand, workplaces that promote mental health and support people with mental disorders are more likely to reduce absenteeism, increase productivity and benefit from associated economic gains.

 Risks to mental health in the workplace include:

  • Poor communication and management practices;
  • Limited participation in decision-making or low control over one’s area of work;
  • Low levels of support for employees;
  • Inflexible working hours; and
  • Unclear tasks or organizational objectives.

Make a pledge for a mentally healthy workplace.