Year : 2017  |  Volume : 21  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 99--100

Mental Health in the Workplace: World Mental Health Day 2017

Ramesh Naveen 
 Department of Community Health, Division of Occupational Health Services, St. John's Medical College, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Ramesh Naveen
Department of Community Health, Division of Occupational Health Services, St. John's Medical College, Bengaluru - 560 034, Karnataka

How to cite this article:
Naveen R. Mental Health in the Workplace: World Mental Health Day 2017.Indian J Occup Environ Med 2017;21:99-100

How to cite this URL:
Naveen R. Mental Health in the Workplace: World Mental Health Day 2017. Indian J Occup Environ Med [serial online] 2017 [cited 2023 Apr 1 ];21:99-100
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Full Text

The World Mental Health Day is promoted by the World Health Organization (WHO), and it is observed on October 10 every year. The objective of this day is to raise awareness about mental health issues globally and to mobilize efforts in support of mental health.[1]

This day provides a unique opportunity for all stakeholders involved in mental health, to share their experiences, challenges, and decide on actions that need to be taken to make mental health care a reality for people globally.[1]

“Mental health in the workplace” is the theme of the World Mental Health Day 2017. Why?

As adults, we spend a good proportion of our time at work. “Work” is a double-edged sword. On the one side, unemployment is a recognized risk factor for mental health problems and on the other, a negative working environment, such as psychological harassment (mobbing) and bullying at the work place, may lead to physical and mental health issues, increase the use of harmful substances or alcohol, work absenteeism, and lost productivity. Workplaces that promote the workers' mental health and help those with mental disorders are more likely to have a happy workforce and benefit from increased productivity and the associated economic gains.[2]

A recently conducted study by the WHO estimates that depression and anxiety disorders cost the global economy US$ 1 trillion each year in terms of lost productivity.[2]

 Risk Factors for Mental Health at Workplaces

The factors which could trigger mental health problems at the workplace are poor interactions among workers as well as between workers and their seniors/supervisors, the managerial structure at the work place, the environment at the workplace, the skill and competency of the employees, the available support system, unclear tasks, limited participation in decision-making, inflexible working hours, and poor health and safety policies.[1],[2],[3]

Recently, bullying and psychological harassment have been the most commonly reported causes of work-related stress, which pose risks to the health of workers. They are associated with both psychological and physical trauma which can cost the employer, in terms of increased absenteeism, reduced productivity, and increased staff turnover. They can also have a negative impact on the company, the workers' family as well as their social interactions.[1],[2],[3]

 Creating a Mind Healthy Workplace

A healthy workplace is one where both the workers and managers actively contribute to improving the working environment by promoting and protecting the health, safety, and well-being of all its employees.[1],[2],[3]

Mental health interventions should be delivered as a part of an integrated health services system at the workplace. The workplace well-being strategy should cover prevention, early diagnosis, and appropriate treatment and also provide support to improve adherence and rehabilitation.[1],[2],[3]

The key to success is involving all the concerned stakeholders and staff at all levels when providing protective, promotive, and supportive interventions while simultaneously monitoring their effectiveness.[1],[2],[3]

A recent study by the WHO estimated that for every $1 spent to scale-up treatment for common mental disorders, there is a return of $4 in improved health and productivity.[1],[2],[3]

 Supporting Workers With Diagnosed Mental Health Disorders at the Workplace

Organizations which promote an inclusive workforce have the responsibility to also support individuals with mental disorders in either continuing or returning to work. Research shows that unemployment, particularly long-term unemployment, can have a detrimental impact on mental health.[1],[2],[3]

Initiatives such as flexible hours, job redesign, addressing negative workplace dynamics, provision of essential resources, and a supportive environment can benefit workers with mental disorders immensely. Regular screening programs can also be held to diagnose and treat mental health disorders at the earliest. Moreover, because of the stigma associated with mental disorders, employers need to ensure that a strong support system is in place, confidentiality is maintained, and individuals feel comfortable and are able to ask for support when required.[1],[2],[3]

Investing in such a wellness program is not only good but also essential. Because it is the employees that make the company after all.


1World Mental Health Day – 10 October. World Health Organization. Available from: [Last accessed on 2017 Oct 05].
2World Mental Health Day 2017. Mental Health in the Workplace. World Health Organisation; 2017. Available from: [Last accessed on 2017 Oct 05].
3Mental Health in the Workplace. Information Sheet. World Health Organisation. Available from: [Last accessed on 2017 Oct 05].