The World Health Organization has stated that “The COVID-19 pandemic has created a crisis like no other in our lifetimes” One aspect of this crisis has been identified as the effect on the populations mental health, including mental health at work – and the serious implications that employers are anticipated to be facing now, and will continue to face for years to come.
Instances of common mental health disorders such as anxiety, stress and depression have all increased rapidly. The Office of National Statistics reports that in general they have seen an increase of more than double the number of adults experiencing depression than before the pandemic - from 10% to 21% of the population. Now carry this statistic alone through to the working environment and at any one time, at least one in five workers will be experiencing depression as a mental health problem.
Prior to the pandemic in the UK, approximately 440,000 cases of self-reported stress, depression or anxiety accounted for 9.9 million days of absence, or, 43% of all working days lost due to ill health every year. The economic cost to the country was estimated at £6.6 billion (30 billion AED). As if these baseline figures weren’t shocking enough, stress-related absence alone is reported to have risen around 40% across all companies over the last 12 months. Specific to the UAE, recent research by Cigna showed that 88 percent of UAE employees are stressed out, one of the highest rates in the world, and that furthermore, 50 percent want to quit their jobs. These figures, coupled with the recent significant changes to the working landscape, have led many companies to the realization that without seismic change they could be facing a tsunami of negative repercussions.
Forward thinking entities are proactively grabbing the opportunity to make impactful changes to the workplace. Frank and honest discussions are opening up around mental health and many companies are pushing the subject to the top of their health and safety agendas. IOSH, the global Institution of Occupational Safety and Health made it’s 2021 slogan “Let’s take care of our Mental Health together” with the aim to create awareness of mental health issues, how they affect ourselves, our colleagues, and our workforce.
In addition to project work and to aid companies in need of HSE resource but without a full-time headcount Corporate OHS also offers the option of a monthly retainer - giving access to HSE services without the burden of permanent cost. For enquiries or to find out more about our services, please visit our website at www.corporateohs.com or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org